Four Helpful Essays by Kevin Stevenson
What is the Philosophy Behind Monergism.com
The nature of this online work requires some explanation. This directory of theology is intended primarily to provide free resources for equipping the saints (as well as informing skeptics) in the historic Christian faith, with an emphasis on the truth, necessity and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. We pray that God would look favorably upon our visitors and that you would find the site useful for pastoral, family or private study, and because its content is completely free, our hope is that it would be liberally used by those who visit the sick, the poor and for missionaries sent abroad by the Lord to the unreached.
We unfortunately live in a day where evangelicalism has become an amorphous mass, abounding in obscurity, vagueness and indistinctness on doctrinal subjects with regard to Christ. The time is now that we come together as a body and publicly advocate a clear, well-defined, Spirit-illuminated, Bible-driven theology, to demonstrate that the historic Reformed orthodox/evangelical view is thoroughly borne out by Scripture. We have endeavored to do so on this site on a multitude of topics and Scripture references.
The theological stand-point which the author(s) of this website holds should be obvious to any reader. Such an one will quickly discover that we belong to the historic evangelical school of theology. He will see that we hold firmly the doctrinal distinctives the Reformers and English Puritans. We are confessing Christians who affirm Covenant Theology and the five solas of the Reformation. We are Presbyterian, and unabashedly hold to the doctrines of grace or the five points of Calvinism ... but you will indeed find a great deal of resources on this website from other traditions such as the Reformed Baptists, Reformed Anglicans and Conservative Lutherans because we believe we are in agreement with them on most vital matters of our faith. And while we totally disapprove of all the loose and broad theology of many modern evangelicals, yet we should add, that in interpreting Scripture or espousing theology, we call no man master or father. We strive, by the grace of God. and your ongoing intercession, to never twist God's Word in order to make it support our own party's views. Throughout this Website we have endeavored honestly and conscientiously to ground every statement (and viewpoint) with the authority of the whole counsel of Scripture behind it. In doing so we seek to evade no difficulty and follow Scripture wherever it leads. We do not hesitate to express our disagreement with the views of others when occasion requires; but when we have done so we strive, by God's grace, to do it with gentleness and respect (1 Pet 3:15).
With this settled purpose of heart let us together seek the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ daily and long after more spiritual knowledge each year we live on earth. Let us deeply search the Scriptures together and pray over them with a growing dependence and zeal. Let us not just scratch the surface of Holy Scripture and thereby know very little of digging down into its hidden treasures. Instead we pray this ministry would be an engaging, vital resource to encourage the reading community to seek the LORD's face on an ongoing basis that His word dwell in you more richly. And to this end we pray that we would all read our Bibles more diligently and the Spirit would open our eyes to its life-giving contents.
Ignorance of the contents of Scripture and the centrality of Jesus Christ as its focal point is the root and foundation of every error. If the Lord would be pleased to allow this work to remove a few granules of ignorance, and to cast a few beams of light on God's precious word, is, for me at least, the greatest honor imaginable.
We now conclude this short introduction to our directory with an earnest prayer, that it may please God to pardon the many deficiencies of this website, and that, in spite of ourselves, He would use it for His own glory and for the the benefit of saving and richly blessing multitudes of souls. It has cost us a large amount of time and labor to put this website together. But if the Holy Spirit should see fit to utilize it to benefit the church, we will be amply repaid.
A New Song
Check out this new song. The lyrics are based on Ephesians chapters 1 and 2. Here. There's even a Spanish version to enjoy. - JS
The Gospel According to Paul
The kind folks at Grace To You have made the recent â€œTruth Matters 2011 Conferenceâ€ available for free listening and download at their site. I watched the conference through their online live streaming of the event earlier this month, and now the teaching is being made available to a wider audience who can listen in at their own convenience.
The series of messages by Dr. John Macarthur were particularly outstanding. They enriched my soul.
This teaching will form the basis of an up-coming book by Dr. Macarthur, the final installment in his trilogy on the Gospel. The first was "The Gospel According to Jesus"; the second, "The Gospel According to the Apostles"; and this third one will be "The Gospel According to Paul."
Here are the session titles by Dr. Macarthur:
(1) The Glorious Gospel
(2) The Gospel Satisfies the Sinnerâ€™s Need
(3) The Gospel Satisfies Godâ€™s Demands
(4) The Reconciling Gospel
(5) An Introduction to the Sovereign Gospel
(6) An Explanation of the Sovereign Gospel
(7) The Humbling Gospel
Then a final session:
(8) Practical Concerns in the Local Church: An Interview with John MacArthur
Here's the link to either hear, download or purchase the Conference messages. Having heard each session one time through, I now aim to go through them again, this time taking extensive notes. - JS
There is no doubt that Dr. R.C. Sproul is a highly trained theologian. One of the many things I appreciate about him is his ability to simplify issues without distorting them. Very few people are able to accomplish this as well as he does.
If you have ever been to a Ligonier Ministries Conference, you will know that one of the highlights is when Dr. R. C. Sproul (either alone or with an expert panel alongside him) has a Question and Answer session. Usually the questions relate to the theme of the Conference and the answers given are often extremely helpful and insightful.
In a recent CD release called "Ask R.C." (from Ligonier Ministries), Dr. R. C. Sproul fielded questions and provided answers on a wide range of biblical and theological issues. One of the questions concerned the doctrine of purgatory and I have transcribed the verbal interchange below. - JS
Questioner: Could you explain the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory and whether or not it is a truthful doctrine?
R.C. - Thank you for that. I will try to deal with that as briefly as I can and I want to be accurate with it. The doctrine of purgatory is an integral doctrine to the Roman Catholic understanding of redemption has been modified just in the last year or so with respect to infants but purgatory is defined by Rome as a purging place. It is a place where the vast majority of even professing Christians go upon their death. As recently as the Roman Catholic Catechism, the Church declares that if a person dies with any spot or blemish or stain on their soul â€“ any impurity â€“ instead of going directly to heaven they must first go to this place of purging which is this intermediate state between earth and heaven. And in purgatory, which is not hell, it is not a place of the punitive wrath of God, but it is a place for the corrective wrath of God (as it were), where the sanctifying process is continued through the crucible of fire (as it were).
Now in purgatory, as I said, the vast majority of people experience this time; they may be there for two weeks or they may be there for two hundred million years â€“ in fact at the heart of the controversy in the 16th century Reformation had to do with the sale of indulgences, and on the external situation there, particularly in Germany when Tetzel was selling the indulgences to the peasants, he distorted seriously the Roman doctrine. The Roman Catholic Church has held for many, many centuries that the grace of justification is infused into a person at baptism, and that that grace of justification remains intact until or unless a person commits a mortal sin. That mortal sin is called mortal because it is so serious that it destroys the justifying grace in the soul. And so a person who commits mortal sin, in other words, has to be re-justified, brought anew into a state of grace. In the 16th century, the Council of Trent declared that the sacrament of penance is the second plank of justification for those who have made shipwreck of their souls.
Introducing Shai Linne
The Reformers of old often brought their doctrines from the high and lofty ledge of theological discussion and down to the level of the normal person in the pew (so to speak) through the use of music. Martin Luther was a great hymn writer, and both he and others like him spread the reformed doctrines far and wide through such means. Shai Linne does the same thing in our day using a forum many of us have never encountered before â€“ hip hop music. I concluded a brief series of articles on the subject of particular redemption with a song of his here. - JS
Ask R.C. Live
On November 30, 2010, Ligonier Ministries held the first session of â€œAsk R.C. Live.â€ Dr. Sproul answered a wide range of questions, including â€œWhy is Arminianism so popular in the Church at large in our day?â€, â€œWhat is the biblical way to leave a church?â€, â€œWhat are your thoughts on the second commandment?â€, and â€œWhen did deep-fried frog legs become your favorite food?â€ If you missed this session at the time, it has now been posted at the Ligonier site and is available to watch now here. - JS
Patristics for Protestants: Feedback Needed!
To everyone interested: I have just set up an experimental new project, Patristics for Protestants, in which I hope to gather together many annotated quotations from the Church fathers, which pertain to many of the points of contention between Rome and the Protestants. This is still in its incipient stages, and your feedback would be most opportune. Please stop by, and leave suggestions!
The Robert Morrison Project
Please consider how you can support the Robert Morrison Project:
The Robert Morrison Project [www.robertmorrisonproject.org] is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to legally translating and publishing reformed literature in China and other South East Asian countries. Starting about ten years ago it became possible to legally publish some forms of Christian literature in China. Slowly, over the past few years, more and more titles entered legal circulation. The door is not completely open but it is cracked open and some good quality Reformed titles are being published and distributed in China. Most amazing of all, the genres of literature that the government has been allowing to be published are the very genres that Reformed publishers have been focusing on for the past 50+ years.
I like it!
Designing a mission statement is often times the first place to start when starting anything... a business, a church, a ministry. It is so helpful to know what the purpose of something is and then work to accomplish that purpose. A Mission Statement is very different from a Statement of Faith. A Mission statement talks about what it is you are seeking to do. A Statement of faith (or Confession) describes what it is you believe.
Someone rightly said, "when we do not know the purpose of a thing, abuse is inevitable." Think of a hammer. A hammer has been designed with a specific purpose in mind - to propel nails into objects. A hammer is not to be used for hitting people on the head - that's an abuse of the intended purpose.
When I was given my first ever hammer as a young child, my parents were wise enough to give me a plastic one, knowing that I might not stick to using it for its intended purpose. They were right. Everything within sight was hit by that hammer. I loved the thing and loved the sound it made as different objects around the house received blow after blow from the hammer. Again, when we do not know the purpose of a thing, abuse is inevitable. :-) Everything has been created for a purpose. Finding that purpose is a key ingredient for discovering God's will for something, including our own lives.
Our mission at King's Church in Phoenix is "The Gospel - Getting it Right, Living it Out, Getting it Out." There's much I could say about this, but I will refrain right now. As I look around the various ministry mission statements out there in the Church at large, several stand out in my mind. The one that I perhaps like the most is the mission statement of Desiring God Ministries (with John Piper). It reads, "Desiring God Ministries exists to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ." Concerning this Matt Perman of DGM recently wrote the following (and I thought it was very insightful):
"By turning a few things around, we can also see what our mission is not - and therefore more clearly what it is. Our mission is not to create cul-de-sacs, but to spread. Our mission is not to spread just knowledge about God. It is to spread a passion for God. Head and heart. Our mission is not to spread a passion for the mediocrity of God or for the overlooking of God or for the assuming of God. It is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God. Our mission is not to spread a passion for the supremacy of human beings or Western materialism or even you. It is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God. Our mission is not to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in just a few things, or just a few parts of your life like the time you spend at church, but in all things. We aim to do this not simply for Americans or Western Christians but for all people groups. We aim to do this not for the boredom or gloom or sadness of all people groups, but for the joy of all people groups. â€œLet the nations be glad and sing for joyâ€ (Psalm 67:4). And we aim to do this not through our own efforts or with an ambiguous God-is-whoever-you-think-he-is God in mind, but through Jesus Christ, who died for us on the cross 2,000 years ago, rose again, ascended into heaven, sent the Holy Spirit, and will come again."
Whatever the wording of our mission statements, be they personal, corporate or ministry related, I pray that we might understand our true purpose under God and have a similar like passion for God, for His gospel, and for His glory. - JS
Articles - Get Your Articles!
Over the last few days I have been seeking to put most of the things I have written in some sort of order and in one accessible place. I was fairly surprised as to how many different topics have been covered over time. If there's one place I would recommend people to go to on the web for teaching articles, it would be www.monergism.com. Use the search feature there - it is so very helpful. However, perhaps these articles I have written could be a blessing too. Hope so, anyway. You can find them here. - John Samson
This is my story, this is my song....
From Passion 2007, held in Atlanta, Georgia. This is Chris Tomlin (and others) leading Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)... Each word is so poignant- so true. Hallelujah to the Lamb of God, the Lord of all glory, Jesus the Messiah!
Dear loved ones in Christ,
We are excited to announce the launching of our new ministry website, psalm45publications.com. From this page, you may access all of my books, and either download them electronically, browse chapter-by-chapter, or purchase print copies. In addition, you will find hundreds of Christ-centered articles, teaching outlines, book reviews, categorized and annotated scripture lists designed for reference and guided studies, poems, "theological FAQs," and other similar items. Also, you can keep up-to-date on my latest posts by scrolling down to the "recent articles" section on the home page. Many thanks to Matthew Fitzsimmons for all the work he contributed toward designing a simple, attractive, and easy-to-use website.
Psalm 45 Publications exists to disseminate Christ-centered and gospel-saturated literature as freely and widely as possible, so please make free use of any of the resources you find. Everything on the site is available for free download, and print copies of most of the items are available to purchase at a reasonable price -- but if you would benefit from having something in print and cannot afford to purchase it, send me an e-mail and I'll try to get it into your hands. The only thing I would request in return is that, if you find something to be useful for stirring up your love of the Savior or strengthening your theological understanding or Christian walk, you would spread the news to others who might also benefit. In order thereto, please feel free to e-mail this to friends, link to or blog about psalm45publications.com, or spread the news in any other way you see fit.
Your partners in the gospel,
Nathan, Nicole, Mishael & Ariel
P.S. We are still ironing out a few things such as the "reference only Scripture lists" and links on the sidebar.
Psalm 45 Publications
Dear friends in Christ,
Greetings in the name of the Savior! I wanted to take a minute to apprise you of a new tool that the Lord has laid it on our hearts to launch, for the purpose of spreading more widely, through the medium of the printed word, the message of Christ and him crucified, and the centrality of that message in every facet of life and theology.
The Daily Scroll
Chris Ross (the founding contributor of The Conventicle), has just launched a new website called The Daily Scroll (www.dailyscroll.net). He created The Daily Scroll in order to promote posts from Christian bloggers that are informative, insightful, edifying, glorifying to God, entertaining, or all of the above.
Major Updates at Monergism.com
These last couple of weeks there were many major updates on Monergism.com including the following categories: Postmodernism, eccelsiology, leadership, Resources on 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews (606 links), hermeneutics and guidance. In each of these categories we have mined and gathered the most Christ-honoring materials from around the web and made it available to you free all in one place.
Dr. James White's web site
Dr. James White's web site has just been given a face-lift of sorts. It amounts to a major upgrade for a site that is well known for its defense of the biblical Gospel, found here.
Intown Leadership Training Curriculum
The Intown Bookshelf
This is a list of resources that Intown Presbyterian Church (PCA) Portland believes are helpful for a given area of study. None of these resources are exhaustive; much more could be said about the topic. However, these books stand out because they are clear, concise, and rely upon a good bibliography that can take you deeper.
Note that these books are an important part of Intown Presbyterian Church's (PCA) new leadership training curriculum:
Why I am a Calvinist by Dr. Phil Johnson
I highly recommend the series of posts by Dr. Phil Johnson at the Pulpit Magazine blog on "Why I am a Calvinist" found here. I believe these short articles provide both a forthright and very balanced overview concerning Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism. - Pastor John Samson
From the Mind of Dave Hunt
Here is a MUST READ: Commenting on whether Calvinists are saved, in his own words, here is Dave Hunt at his best, apparently unconcerned for historical and theological accuracy, throwing all caution to the wind. Read through it -- no further commentary necessary.
Question [composite of several]: Was this a misstatement, or do you really believe what you said in your September Q&A: â€œThose who only know the false gospel of Calvinism are not savedâ€?
Answer: The original question was, â€œIs it possible for someone who believes only in the soteriology of Calvin to be saved?â€ As I said in my response, there are many Calvinists who were saved before they became Calvinists or who have believed the true gospel in spite of their Calvinismâ€”but â€œthose who know only the false gospel of Calvinism are not saved.â€ If all one believes is that infant baptism saves, as Calvin taught (and which is the case with many Calvinists), one is certainly not saved. If a person believes that he was saved through infant baptism, how is it possible for him, without relinquishing that false belief, to truly be saved by believing the gospel? He has no need of the true gospel, having already been forgiven his sins and made a child of God through infant baptism. He may affirm at his confirmation that Christ died for his sins, but he still believes that the benefit of that sacrifice came to him through infant baptism long before his â€œconfirmationâ€ of this lie.
How could that false faith save? If it does, then the many former Catholics, Lutherans, and Presbyterians who realized they werenâ€™t saved through their infant baptism, and who put their faith in Christ, were born again, and then baptized as believers, have been deluded. But they would vehemently deny that they were saved all the time in spite of their faith in infant baptism! And they would reject Calvin himself as an â€œex-Catholicâ€â€”because he continued to rely upon his infant baptism for salvation, he declared that being baptized as a baby was the sure way of knowing one was among the elect, he opposed those who got saved and were then baptized, he banned Anabaptists from Geneva in 1537, and he even had some burned at the stake for this belief.
Christianity Today on Calvinism
"Young, Restless, and Reformed: Calvinism is making a comeback--and shaking up the church."Christianity Today's cover story in the latest issue, shipping this week.
Justin Taylor over at Betwen Two Worlds mentioned that the cover story article was written by Collin Hansen, and that it is an excellent piece that profiles the Reformed resurgence in the twenty-something crowd. John Piper, Al Mohler, Joshua Harris, Kent Hughes, C.J. Mahaney, and Together for the Gospel are all mentioned. Pick up a copy of the magazine at your local bookstore.
We will also link to the story when it appears online next week.
Don't Be Stingy
In his book "A Generous Orthodoxy", when speaking of the doctrine of unconditional election, Brian McLaren in an attempt to redefine TULIP, asserts that anyone who believes in a God who elects some and not others to eternal life (1 Peter 1:2) must be so self-absorbed in their standing before God that they view themselves as having what he calls â€œexclusive privilegeâ€ over others.
How McLaren could reach such a puzzling conclusion is a very interesting question, one which I hope to explore more in depth (along with a testimony of God's grace in my own conversion) below:
It can be demonstrated, on the contrary, that the divine intent of revealing the the doctrine of election to us in Scripture was actually to bring about the opposite effect. Understood rightly, our election in Christ safeguards the biblical axiom that our salvation is by the grace of Jesus Christ, and by that grace ALONE ... that salvation is wholly, not partly, procured by Jesus Christ and our being united to Him by His Holy Spirit. Paul thus defines a Christian as one who worships in the Spirit of God, glories in Christ Jesus and has no confidence in the flesh (Phil 3).
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???
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).
The Beginning of the End of the PCUSA?
In 1903, the PCUSA adopted revisions to the Westminster Confession of Faith that were intended to soften the church's commitment to Calvinism. J Gresham Machen Splits over liberalism and forms OPC in the 30s...
1967 PCUSA supplements the Westminster Confession with a Book of Confessions, containing Christian confessions from the fourth century to the twentieth, including the newly-drafted Confession of 1967. Before 1967 there was a constitutional basis to call the church to reform. Until that year the PCUSA still had ordination vows that required officers to subscribe to the Bible as the Word of God and to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms as containing the system of doctrine taught in Scripture. But in 1967 a Book of Confessions was adopted, a kind of confessional museum whose latest addition (the Confession of 1967) undermines all of the solid, biblical confessions that preceded it, and with it carries a new set of ordination vows in which the person ordained promises only to be "guided" by the confessions of the church.
1970s splits into PCA / PCUSA - decides to ordain women... Now about 50% are considering homosexual clergy.
In light of this, is this Beginning of the End of the PCUSA?
Mark Roberts at his blog has a series of posts on -- is the Presbyterian Church USA already in schism?
Disclosure, Eric Costa and myself are members of the PCA, not to be confused with the PCUSA.
Interesting Links Around the Web 06-07-06
Ministerial Confessions by Horatius Bonar (Worthwhile read)
Is There Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus? (.Pdf)
A Debate between William Lane Craig and Bart D. Ehrman
The Book of Genesis Multimedia, Commentaries, Sermons and other Resources @Monergism.com New Section!
Caner On Calvinism by Gene Bridges
Short Biography of a Retired Police Officer Pete Reed
See how God uses the weakest means to convert His own.
Present Day Evangelism by Arthur W. Pink
Monergism.com Reformation T-Shirts
Now Shipping. With the recent resurgence of Reformation theology, many adhering to the Doctrines of Grace search for ways to expose the world to their beliefs. This shirt peaks the interest of onlookers and provides an excellent bridge for introducing the Biblical beliefs recovered and heralded during the the Reformation. The front of the shirt has a â€œburning bushâ€ with the Latin phrase â€œPost Tenebras Luxâ€ it also has the text "www.monergism.com" on the fornt so you can point interested onlookers to biblical resources. The back of the shirt bears the names and likenesses of four of the best-known Protestant Reformers and those who came after them to carrry the torch of the Reformation: Calvin, Luther, Edwards & Spurgeon surrounded by the text: Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria.
Materials of Interest Around the Web
DVD Review - Marks of a Cult by Tim Challies New Recommendation!
Why are Baptists properly considered Christians, but Mormons are not? Why is the Jehovah's Witness religion classified as an anti-Christian cult while Presbyterians, Wesleyans and Pentecostals are simply seen as denominations within the Christian faith? How does one differentiate between true Biblical Christianity and an aberrant religious movement? And just what are the marks of a cult?
Preaching as Expository Exultation for the Glory of God by John Piper--delivered at the Together for the Gospel Conference.
There are four parts to this message. First, I will reflect on the kind of preaching that I long to see God raise up in our dayâ€”the kind that is shaped by the weight of the glory of God. Second, I will try to portray the glory of God which affects preaching this way. Third, I will offer my biblical understanding of how people waken to this glory and are changed by it. Finally, I will explain how all of this calls for a kind of preaching that I call expository exultation.
Is the Devil Really in the Details? by Carl Trueman
A simple, isolated statement about belief in scriptural authority is not enough on its own to distinguish Protestants from Catholics. Augustine legitimated mediocre Christianity of a kind that accepted failure as failure and then pointed to Godâ€™s grace in Christ as the only basis for salvation, whether at the start of the Christian life or at the end. Thus, the failure of Pelagius to make sense of Paulâ€™s teaching on fallen human nature and grace led to Augustineâ€™s enshrinement of failure as one of the hallmarks of the true Christian. And that is surely good news.
A must read debate on Monergistic Regeneration led by Gene Bridges at Triblogue. Start here:
1) "Charles" and Bob L. Ross Vs. Scripture and the Confessions
Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of Godâ€™s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in
repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour. Justification is Godâ€™s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God.
Monergism.com Major Upgrade Campaign
As many of you already know, we need to raise $5000.00 to cover the costs of a major upgrade to Monergism.com. This project is seeking your help to fund the cost of backend engineering, design, data entry as well as continued regular maintenance costs for the site (software, hardware, etc.). Monergism.com's content will be put into a database with consideration to usability, navigation and website architecture. When the project is complete, the goal is a much better user experience and to make it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for. While the content of the site will continue to be focused on Christ-honoring theology, it should be much more streamlined and accessible.
We thank the Lord for all of you that after only one week we have already raised over $4000.00 in donations through checks and PayPal. We are really thankful to see the broad support and the obvious hand of the Lord at work through you in furthering the Gospel through Monergism.com.
Live Blogging by Tim Challies
As most of you already know, the Together for the Gospel Conference is taking place this week, finishing later today. Tim Challies is serving many of us who are not there (but would like to be) by live blogging at the main sessions. Here are his notes for Dr. Sproul's session yesterday afternoon. For more, go to www.challies.com.
This afternoon we have the privilege of hearing R.C. Sproul speak on "The Center of Christian Preaching: Justification by Faith Alone." It seems to me that if we could want to hear any man in the world today speak on the subject of "justification by faith alone," it would be Sproul. Few men have dedicated more time to understanding and preaching this critical doctrine. Few men are more qualified to speak to share with us this: the very heart of Christian doctrine.
Justification is the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls, and ultimately, the doctrine upon which you and I stand or fall. This doctrine is the "Atlas" upon which the whole of Christianity rests. Were Atlas to shrug, the entire structure of the Christian faith would fall to the ground and be shattered. This is not a common understanding of the doctrine of justification by faith alone in our day. It is now considered, tragically, the small print of the gospel. The battle over justification by faith alone is considered, by so many, a tempest in a teapot. Many have declared the Reformation to be over since Catholicism and Protestantism have supposedly mended their fences and now stand together. The New Perspective tells us that both sides completely misunderstood Paul's true teaching on justification. Yet it should not be surprising that we see a minimalist attitude being expressed about this doctrine.
Towards the end of his life, Martin Luther warned (rightly it seems) that in every generation the gospel will have to be reaffirmed because this doctrine, when proclaimed boldly and accurately, will produce conflict. We are those who, when faced with the options of fight or flight, prefer to flee conflict even if the stakes are as low as being burned not at the stake but at the payroll of a local church. With this increasing significance comes an eclipse of the understanding of this doctrine. Dr. Sproul will discuss the Roman Catholic understanding of the doctrine of justification so we can understand the Reformation understanding up against the Roman Catholic.
J. Ligon Duncan III: Contemporary Reformer
Meet J. Ligon Duncan III, the newest member of the Hall of Contemporary Reformers. Dr. Duncan calls himself a Westminster Calvinist and has, what he calls, an an ordinary means grace-based ministry which believes that God means what he says in the Bible about the central importance of these public, outward instruments for spiritual life and growth. God explicitly instructs ministers and churches to do the following things: (1) "give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching" (I Timothy 3:13); (2) "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2); (3) "make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" (Matthew 28:19); (4) "This is My body, which is for you; ...This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes" (I Corinthians 11 :24-26); (5) "I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made. ..Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands" (I Timothy 2:1, 8).
These are the main ways God's people grow. We are saved by grace through faith, faith alone in Christ alone. But the instruments, the tools of God' s grace to bring us to faith and grow us in grace are the Word, prayer and sacraments. Nothing else we do in the church's program should detract from these central instruments of grace, and indeed every thing else we do should promote and coalesce with them.
What's Wrong With This Picture?
The 50 Most Influential Christians in America
According to The Magazine for Church Business Administrators and Para Church Executives: The Church Report - The 50 Most Influential Christians in America has voted T.D. Jakes (a non-Trinitarian modalist) and Joel Osteen (whose books and preaching are merely pep talks that are completely void of the gospel) in their #1 and #2 positions. The top 10 also includes Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Paul Crouch and Joyce Meyer. The list was derived from over 150,000 nominations from its readers. While there are a couple of notable names down the list, the lack of discernment among evangelicals as to what constitutes the gospel and historic orthodox Christianity is made evident by many of the questionable selections.
Instead of despairing, this should bring us to prayer that the Lord would move within our leadership our rank and file to desire God-honoring, Christ-centered, gospel-driven churches. That He woud send his Spirit to open our eyes and circumcize our hearts to to embrace a full-orbed Trinitarian gospel that preaches the whole counsel of Scripture among all our leaders and churches. If this current trend continues in America, our days are numbered but God, who can bring life out of death hears our prayers. The situation being this critical means that we must pray to the Lord for His mercy. Perhaps the greatest task facing us is the re-evangelization of the Church itself.
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Cooperation in the Church (Audio Interview)
By Dr. Mark Dever
Four veterans go a few rounds on the subject of cooperation among evangelicals & their churches. Listen to Mark Dever, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan and CJ Mahaney talk about where they can and cannot cooperate as church leaders. Mark writes, â€œThis is one of my favorite conversations we've been able to record. We had already been together for several hours and the conversation just flowed." Two baptists, one Presbyterian and a Reformed Charismatic discuss the pratical implications of unity when people are coming from different distinctives.
The interview is free for streaming download here
Other Happenings Around the Web
Albert Mohler: A Conversation With John MacArthur and John Piper Audio
James White 17-Part Series on the DaVinci Code
*The Da Vinci Code XVIII *Part I *Part II *Part III *Part IV *Part V *Part VI *Part VII *Part VIII *Part IX *Part X *Part XI *Part XII *Part XIII *Part XIV *Part XV *Part XVI *Part XVII
N. T. Wright's "Paul: In Fresh Perspective" Review & Critique by Denny Burk
Still A Deadly Mistake: N.T. Wrights and Wrongs by Douglas Wilson
John Frame: Doctrine of the Christian Life the third volume of his Theology of Lordship series can read in its entirety online for free.
David Wells Roundtable Discussion
With the recent publication of David Wellsâ€™ Above All Earthly Powers: Christ in a Postmodern World (Eerdmans, 2005), the editor (Derek Thomas) asked three Alliance Council members, Ligon Duncan, Phil Ryken, and Carl Trueman to engage in a round-table discussion on the importance of this and his previous volumes.
Bibliology: Doctrine of the Written Word
Take the time to see the updated and most extensive resource of the Doctrine of the Bible on the Internet @ Monergism.com. A cornucopia of theologically sound essays.
â€œSince for unbelieving men religion seems to stand by opinion alone, they, in order not to believe anything foolishly or lightly, both wish and demand rational proof that Moses and the prophets spoke divinely. But I reply: the testimony of the Spirit is more excellent than all reason. For as God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find acceptance in men's hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken through the mouths of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what had been divinely commanded ... "
--John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 1.7.5.
11/28/05 Around the Blogosphere
Tilting at Windmills
Take the time to read a 3-part review that deals a fatal blow to the latest book attacking Calvinism: Ben Witherington's The Problem with Evangelical Theology (Bayor 2005). Steve Hays of Triablogue answers point by point Arminian objections Part 1; Part 2; Part 3
Can't we all just get along? Why "playing nice" by postmodernist standards is a losing proposition
It is always amazing to me to see postmoderns making authoritative statements to falsify all claims to authority. Phil Johnson takes on the postmodern ethos of convictionless Chrisitianity in his new essay
John Piper & Reformation History Free MP3 CD Giveaway
( 4 CDs to choose from ) Offer Ends December 31st, 2005
Includes the following CDs (1) T.U.L.I.P & Romans 7-9 by John Piper (60 lectures and sermons), (2) Christian Biographies by John Piper, (3) Reformation HIstory Series by Tom Browning & Life Together: What is a Reformed Church? Series by Tom Ferrel (27 Sermons/Lectures, (4) Three John Piper Sermon Series w/bonus: includes a) Desiring God (4 sermons) (b) Biblical Eldership (4 sermons) (c) Unbelief (12 sermons) (d) Bonus Sermons Pleasures of God (8 sermons) ... If you like MP3s with theologically God-glorifying content here is the place to get them free.
Getting the Facts Right:
Michael A G Haykin talks about using historical inaccuracies to buttress a theological argument\
The Promise-Driven Life by Michael S. Horton
You have heard of the Purpose Driven LIfe? Well, Horton brings us a little closer to reality.
Redefining ChristianityTim Challies Reviews Bob DeWaay's new book, Redefining Christianity, a book about Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life and other aspects of the Purpose Driven paradigm.
Mark Dever: Newest Inductee into the Hall of Contemporary Reformers
November 20, 2005: Today Mark Dever is the newest member inducted into The Hall of Contemporary Reformers. Mark Dever serves as the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, a reforming congregation, with emphasis on God-centered services, expositional preaching, evangelism & missions and community life. Take the time to click into his profile and scroll down to the bottom of his page to find essays, sermons, and a pastor's toolbox. There is a cornucopia of material that will be helpful to your ministry and discipleship. Dever has an expertise in Ecclesiology and has written a few excellent books on the subject. Apart from his pulpit, he has a ministry called 9Marks which gives superb material related to the Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. There are answers to many of your practical questions about church. Be sure to do an in-depth exploration of his profile. If you are unfamiliar with his ministry you need to get familiar with it. The Lord is using this ministry to make a profound difference.