Thursday, December 30, 2010

Public Schools and the Glory of God

Since we always, and can only, function in the realm of God's creation, education is therefore inescapably religious. In the process of education we, who are ourselves created, interact with God's creation, we observe God's creation, we think about God's creation and we learn how to use and manipulate God's creation in order to achieve certain results. God's purpose in creating, and our goal in education, is therefore inextricably intertwined.

If we are going to educate properly we must first know the reason and goal of education, and because education cannot deal with anything other than God's creation, we must first know why God created.  Once we have found the purpose of creation we will have found the goal of education, and once we have found the goal of education we can align all that we do to meet that goal. 

So what was the Creator’s ultimate intention for His creation? Why do you and I exist? Why does anything exist? Or we might ask it this way: If God was perfectly happy throughout all eternity past without any of His creation, why did He create anything at all? Wouldn't He been just fine without anything else?  Isn't God, by definition, lacking in nothing?

In short, the Bible’s answer is this:  for His own glory.  Creation was created to glorify God. But this only prompts another question:  What does it mean “to glorify God”?

The root of the word “glory” speaks of heaviness or weight; what something is, its importance, excellence and intrinsic worth.  Glory is also frequently spoken of as light (Luke 2:9; Revelation 21:23) as light makes things visible, observable, knowable and understandable. 

If we put these two things together we see that the glory of God is the shining forth of His own attributes. It is the manifestation of His character, of His own intrinsic worthiness and greatness.  His invisible attributes made observable and exercised. In short, it is God revealing Himself.

Therefore, when we speak of “glorifying God”, we are speaking of being like God. To glorify God means to reflect His light, reflect His character and communicable attributes, to reveal Him. Creation was created to reflect, honor, praise, love, depend on, trust, worship and be like its Creator.

This accords beautifully with scripture. Psalm 19 tells us that “the heavens declare the glory of God.” In conjunction with this, Romans 1 tells us that the creation makes some of His invisible attributes “clearly seen”. It makes the invisible visible.  In other words, it reflects or reveals something of the character of God.

Think of it this way; God, as the most righteous and perfect being, must love what is most righteous and perfect.  God, who is perfectly good, must love what is most good.  God, who is most holy and pure, must love what is most holy and pure. God, who is perfect love, must love what is most worthy of that love.  And what is most righteous, perfect, good, holy, pure and most worthy of the greatest love?  God is! 

This may come as a shock to a bunch of self-centered sinners like us who each think that the world revolves around us, but God loves Himself more than He loves any of us, and it is only right that we do the same! This is the first and greatest commandment, isn't it?  "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37,38). God does not break this commandment and neither should we!

We are told in scripture that God does all that He does with a view to His own glory. (“For My own sake, for My own sake I will do it…and I will not give My glory to another.” Isaiah 48:11). We, too, are to do all that we do to the glory of God. (“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Corinthians 6:20; “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31)

God loves Himself chiefly and we are to do the same. To fail to reflect Him at this point is to fail to keep the first and greatest commandment. To fail to reflect Him here, is to fail to love Him.  To fail to love Him first and foremost is idolatry. 

To fail to glorify God at any point is a sin!  As Romans 3:23 puts it, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  In the book of Revelation, God  pours out His wrath because men refuse to “repent and give Him glory” (verse 9). The “everlasting gospel” is summarized in these words in Revelation 14:6,7; “Fear God and give Him glory”. God must be glorified! This is the purpose of life, the epicenter of doctrine, the cornerstone of knowledge and the call of the gospel! The implications of this truth touch everything, especially education. Education is nothing more than learning how we can best glorify our Creator.

Why do we learn to read? To get a good job at IBM?  No, we learn to read in order to read God’s Word for ourselves that we might obey it and know the Creator. Why do we learn mathematics? Is it just a set of facts that have nothing to do with religion?  No, mathematics teaches us about the character of our God and helps us to take dominion over His creation, as He instructed us to do. 

Why do we study history? Because it’s interesting?  No, we study history because it is the working of Gods providence which centers upon His people and can teach us many invaluable lessons.  We could go on and on with the other subjects of learning, every one of them relating directly to the glory of God.

Here the public schools have utterly failed! Not only have they failed but they have defiantly refused to glorify God!  They have foolishly attempted to throw the omnipresent God out of their little classrooms.  They have told the omnipotent One that He has no authority over them and they have told the omniscient Creator that He has no right to define His creation and that He will not be consulted in the matter.  They have arrogantly made themselves the ultimate authority and have developed an idolatrous pseudo form of "education" in the place of knowing, loving and reflecting God. 

The public schools have glorified man and thrown down God! They have pushed Christ aside and have made education the Savior of mankind.  In the place of God’s likeness as the goal of education, they have placed self-empowerment and self-improvement.  They have seated Self upon the throne of God! Is it any wonder that so many in our day see man as the ultimate and pleasing themselves as the highest good?  But yet at the same time, they know that they did not create themselves and so they are left unable to answer the simplest question: “What is the purpose of life?”


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Education at Polemos

IndoctriNation! Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity

IndoctriNation Trailer from IndoctriNation on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We are more sure...

"We are more sure to rise out of our graves than out of our beds."

-Thomas Watson

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Colonial America; Trained in the School of Calvin

"It is estimated that of the 3,000,000 Americans at the time of the American Revolution, 900,000 were of Scotch or Scotch-Irish origin, 600,000 were Puritan English, and 400,000 were German or Dutch Reformed. In addition to this the Episcopalians had a Calvinistic confession in their Thirty-nine Articles; and many French Huguenots also had come to this western world. Thus we see that about two-thirds of the colonial population had been trained in the school of Calvin..."

Loraine Boettner as quoted in Christianity and the Constitution The Faith of our Founding Fathers By John Eidsmoe / Baker

New Books on the Covenanters at Polemos

The Covenanters at Polemos

1368: Fair Sunshine: Martyrs in the Early Scottish ChurchFair Sunshine: Martyrs in the Early Scottish Church
By Jock Purves / Banner Of Truth

"Fair Sunshine, by Jock Purves deserves a place alongside the very best of the many volumes which deal with that terrible yet glorious period of history of the Scottish church between the restoration of Charles II and the accession of William III. Whether Jock Purves was writing about James Guthrie at the beginning or James Renwick at the very end of this time of martyrdom and suffering, there was a lyrical quality about his treatment. When taken together with his spiritual perception and moral earnestness this drives every one of these biographical chapters to the heart of the reader."

554036: Ballantyne: Hunted and Harried: A Tale of the Scottish CovenantersBallantyne: Hunted and Harried: A Tale of the Scottish Covenanters
By The Vision Forum, Inc

"The Scottish Kirk was in conflict with the King of England, and by 1666, the king's soldiers were given lists of the names of Scottish Covenanters to hunt down and persecute. The story focuses upon Will Wallace, who begins searching for a defiant Protestant before joining the "hunted and harried" himself. 249 pages, cloth-bound hardcover, smyth-sewn binding, gold imprinted cover. Please Note: Ballantyne sometimes describes events in a graphic manner. Parents may wish to preview."
250748: Martyrland: A Tale of Persecution from the Days of the Scottish CovenantersMartyrland: A Tale of Persecution from the Days of the Scottish Covenanters
By Robert Simpson / Solid Ground Christian Books

"Over 18,000 saints of God had been martyred before the ascension of William III to the throne of England in 1688 and the subsequent 'Glorious Revolution' which brought an end to the terrible persecutions in Scotland...There are many historical records and accounts of the exploits of the Covenanters, but Martyrland stands in a league all of its own. If you would like to be transported in your imagination back to the 17th Century and enabled to vividly hear, and see, and smell, and feel all that went on, then this book is going to capture your mind in a way that you will not easily forget! One piece of friendly advice: Don't let your Spouse know of this book until AFTER you have read it. I made that mistake, and for a few weeks my wife and I were racing to be first in bed so as to get first dabs on what still remains our favorite historical narrative!" - Pastor Robert Elliott, Riverside, California Rev. Robert Simpson (1792-1867) was the minister of North United Presbyterian Church of Sanquhar, Scotland for forty-eight years. An honorary degree was conferred by Princeton College, U.S., 1853. In addition to Martyrland he was author of The Two Shepherds, The Minister and his Hearer, Traditions of the Covenanters, Life of the Rev. James Renwick, A Voice from the Desert, Memorials of Worth, History of Sanquhar, and Cottars of the Glen.
871043: Makers of Puritan HistoryMakers of Puritan History
By Marcus L Loane / Banner Of Truth

"Are our civil and religious freedoms under threat? According to some social commentators we are living in very uncertain times in which the freedoms we have long enjoyed are coming under increasing pressure. The liberty we take so much for granted may not be as secure as we think. When this book was first published there was little or no sign of such danger on the horizon. In 1960 the church may have taken her religious freedom for granted and perhaps had forgotten the price paid by those who had 'fought for freedom of truth and conscience, freedom for life and worship, freedom both as citizens and Christians'. Today in the West the prospect facing the church may well be one of suffering for the sake of the gospel and of sharing the common experience of our fellow Christians in many other parts of the world.

This prospect makes the story of the four men told in this book all the more fascinating and relevant. In the seventeenth-century two Scottish Covenanters, Alexander Henderson and Samuel Rutherford, and two English Puritans, John Bunyan and Richard Baxter, were at the forefront in the struggle for liberty of conscience and freedom of worship. The story of their suffering and triumph, vividly told by a skilled biographer, enables the reader to visualize clearly both the problems which faced the church during that turbulent period of her history and the principles upon which our spiritual forefathers courageously took their stand. Of course, it would not be hard to point out their limitations and imperfections, their mistakes and failures; but they were fired by an inner nobility of motive and ideal which lifts them above petty criticism and gives them a lasting title to be known as men who were like Bunyan's pilgrim, Valient-for-Truth."
780669: William Symington: Penman of the Scottish CovenantersWilliam Symington: Penman of the Scottish Covenanters
By Roy Blackwood & Michael LeFebvre / Reformation Heritage / Soli Deo Gloria
26184: Our Covenant Heritage: Covenanter"s Struggle for Unity in TruthOur Covenant Heritage: Covenanter's Struggle for Unity in Truth
By Edwin Nisbet Moore / Christian Focus Publications

"The drama in this book took place in Scotland in the late seventeenth century when English Kings, who saw themselves as head of the church, conducted a twenty-eight year reign of terror intended to destroy the Presbyterian church. Historians refer to those persecuted as 'Covenanters' because they had sworn a covenant to preserve their faith in Scotland and promote the reformation of religion in England and Ireland. Thousands chose to suffer persecution rather than give in to the king, hundreds died."

2343957: The Lion of the CovenantThe Lion of the Covenant
By Maurice Grant / Evangelical Press

"Of all the names associated with the cause of Scottish Covenanters, and their heroic resistance to arbitrary power, none is better known than that of Richard Cameron. As preacher, public figure and popular leader, he epitomized the steadfastness of a people in the face of a bitter and protracted persecution. Such was the impact of his life that, even in his own day, his name came to be synonymous with uncompromising adherence to a cause, a cause that was of the very essence of civil and religious freedom."


008202: The Scottish Covenanters DVDThe Scottish Covenanters DVD
By Vision Video

"This video presents a penetrating look at a movement in 17th-century Scotland that is little known today but whose courage and fortitude are woven into the fabric of the Scottish people. The Covenanters covenanted with God for the good of the people. This video covers the story of fifty years with a short prelude to help understand the reason why they acted as they did. Their conflict was basically spiritual, but, due to prevailing and constant persecution, they were drawn into deeper conflicts and complexities. They fought long and hard for the crown right and prerogatives of Christ over His Church with devastating results upon themselves." Approx. 55 Minutes.

Monday, December 27, 2010

John Calvin; Father of America

"Calvin was the founder of the greatest of republics. The Pilgrims who left their country in the reign of James I, and landing on the barren soil of New England, founded populous and mighty colonies, were his sons, his direct and legitimate sons; and that American nation which we have seen growing so rapidly boasts as its father the humble Reformer on the shore of Lake Leman..."

J.H. Merle D'Aubigné as quoted in Christianity and the Constitution The Faith of our Founding Fathers By John Eidsmoe / Baker

John Calvin; Virtual Founder of America

"If the average American citizen were asked, who was the founder of America, the true author of our great Republic, he might be puzzled to answer. We can imagine his amazement at hearing the answer given to this question by the famous German historian, Ranke, one of the profoundest scholars of modern times. Says Ranke, 'John Calvin was the virtual founder of America...

These revolutionary principles of republican liberty and self-government, taught and embodied in the system of Calvin, were brought to America, and in this new land where they have borne so mighty a harvest were planted, by whose hands?—the hands of the Calvinists. The vital relation of Calvin and Calvinism to the founding of the free institutions of America, however strange in some ears the statement of Ranke may have sounded, is recognized and affirmed by historians of all lands and creeds."

Dr. E.W. Smith as quoted in Christianity and the Constitution The Faith of our Founding Fathers By John Eidsmoe / Baker

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nobody said anything to Me

Nobody said anything to Me.
From the 2 volume set of A Pastor's Sketches- Conversations with anxious souls about the way of salvation

THE title which I have given to this sketch is taken from the lips of a young man, who afterwards became a member of my Church. He had called upon me for conversation upon the subject of his religious duty; and after conversing with him, and saying such things to him as I thought appropriate to his state of mind, I asked him how it came about that he had not given his prayerful attention to the subject of religion before.

" Nobody said anything to me," said he.

" Yes," I replied, " I have said a great many things to you."

" I know you have, in sermons; but I mean nobody said any­thing to me in particular, before yesterday."

" Who said anything to you yesterday?"

" Henry Clapp," said he, naming a young man who had recently entertained a hope in God. "

What did Henry say to you?"

" As I met him in the street he stopped me, and told me he had something to say to me, and asked me if he might say it. I said, Yes, he might. And then he said, ' It is high time for you to begin to seek the Lord.'"

" And what did you answer ?"

" I hardly had time to answer at all, for he passed right on. But I said to him, when he had got a few feet from me, ' So it is, Henry.' He turned back his face partly toward me, looking over his shoulder, and answered,' Do it then,' and went right on."

" Have you seen him since?" •' No, sir."

" You say, nobody said anything to you before. If he, or some one else, had spoken to you before, do you think you would have begun before?"

" I believe I should."

Such was the opinion of this young man. To this opinion he adhered long after. The last time I spoke to him on that sub­ject, he said to me that he believed he " should have sought the Lord years before, if anybody had spoken to him about it."

Here, then, was a young man, living in the midst of a Christian community till he was more than twenty years old, a regular attendant at church, known to scores of Christian men and women; and yet, "nobody said anything to him!" The first sentence that was uttered to him was not lost upon him.

There are few points of duty more difficult for wise and engaged Christians to decide, than it is to decide what they shall say, or whether they shall say anything, to the irreligious persons whom they are accustomed to meet. Many times they are afraid to say anything to them on the subject of religion, lest they should do them an injury by awakening opposition or disgust.

No man can teach them their duty. What may be the duty of one, may not be the duty of another. The question depends upon so many things, upon character, upon intimacy, upon time, place, occasion, age, and a thousand other circumstances, that no wise man will ever attempt to lay down any general rule upon the subject. But if a Christian's heart longs for the conversion of sinners as it ought, he will not be likely to err. If he speaks to an unconverted sinner, in love, and alone, and without dis­putation, and in humility, and in the spirit of prayer, his words will do no harm. He may not be able to do good, but at least he can try. The unconverted in the midst of God's people, meeting them every day,. their friends, their associates, and neighbours, certainly ought not to be able to declare, " Nobody said anything to me,"—" No man cared for my soul."

Ichabod Spencer

From the 2 volume set of A Pastor's Sketches- Conversations with anxious souls about the way of salvation

Friday, December 24, 2010

Jesus Christ Himself!



"Jesus Christ himself" is to occupy all our thoughts this morning. What an ocean opens up before me! Here is sea-room for the largest barque! In which direction shall I turn your thoughts? I am embarrassed with riches. I know not where to begin: and when I once begin where shall I end? Assuredly we need not go abroad for joys this morning, for we have a feast at home. The words are few, but the meaning vast -"Jesus Christ himself."

...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Necessity of Repentance

The Necessity of Repentance
J. C Ryle (1816-1900)

"Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."—Luke 13:3

The text that heads this page, at first sight, looks stern and se vere: "Except ye repent, ye shall all perish." I can fancy some one saying, "Is this the Gospel?" "Are these the glad tidings? Are these the good news of which ministers speak?" "This is a hard saying, who can hear it?" (John 6:60).

But from whose lips did these words come? They came from the lips of One Who loves us with a love that passeth knowledge, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They were spoken by One Who so loved us that He left heaven for our sakes—came down to earth for our sakes—lived a poor, humble life for three-and-thirty years on earth for our sakes—went to the cross for us, went to the grave for us, and died for our sins. The words that come from lips like these must sure ly be words of love.

After all, what greater proof of love can be given than to warn a friend of coming danger? The father who sees his son tottering to ward the brink of a precipice, and as he sees him cries out sharply, "Stop, stop!"—does not that father love his son? The tender mother who sees her infant on the point of eating some poisonous berry and cries out sharply, "Stop, stop! Put it down!"—does not that mother love that child? It is indifference that lets people alone and allows them to go on every one in his own way. It is love, tender love, which warns and raises the cry of alarm. The cry of "Fire! Fire!" at midnight may sometimes startle a man out of his sleep—rudely, harshly, un pleasantly. But who would complain, if that cry was the means of sav ing his life? The words, "Except ye repent, ye shall all perish," may seem at first sight stern and severe. But they are words of love, and may be the means of delivering precious souls from hell.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Greg Bahnsen - Introduction to Worldviews (part 7)

New at Polemos
World View

Introduction to Worldviews (part 6)

New at Polemos
World View

Francis Schaeffer on World View

“…many Christians do not mean what I mean when I say Chris­tianity is true, or Truth. They are Christians and they believe in, let us say, the truth of creation, the truth of the virgin birth, the truth of Christ's miracles, Christ's substitutionary death, and His coming again. But they stop there with these and other individual truths.

When I say Christianity is true I mean it is true tototal reality—the total of what is, beginning with the central reality, the objective existence of the personal-infinite God. Christianity is not just a series of truths but Truth—Truth about all of reality. And the holding to that Truth intellectually—and then in some poor way living upon that Truth, the Truth of what is— brings forth not only certain personal results, but also governmental and legal results.

Now let's go over to the other side—to those who hold the materialistic final reality concept. They saw the complete and total difference between the two positions more quickly than Christians. There were the Huxleys, George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), and many others who understood a long time ago that there are two total concepts of reality and that it was one total reality against the other and not just a set of isolated and separated differences. The Humanist Man­ifesto I, published in 1933, showed with crystal clarity their comprehension of the totality of what is involved. It was to our shame that Julian (1887-1975) and Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), and the others like them, understood much earlier than Christians that these two world views are two total concepts of reality standing in antithesis to each other. We should be utterly ashamed that this is the fact.

They understood not only that there were two total­ly different concepts but that they would bring forth two totally different conclusions, both for individuals and for society. What we must understand is that the two world views really do bring forth with inevitable certainty not only personal differences, but also total differences in regard to society, government, and law.

There is no way to mix these two total world views. They are separate entities that cannot be synthesized. Yet we must say that liberal theology, the very essence of it from its beginning, is an attempt to mix the two. Liberal theology tried to bring forth a mixture soon after the Enlightenment and has tried to synthesize these two views right up to our own day. But in each case when the chips are down these liberal theologians have always come down, as naturally as a ship coming into home port, on the side of the nonreligious hu­manist. They do this with certainty because what their liberal theology really is is humanism expressed in theological terms instead of philosophic or other terms.”


46923: A Christian Manifesto: 25th Anniversary Edition A Christian Manifesto: 25th Anniversary Edition
By Francis A. Schaeffer / Crossway Books & Bibles

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Dying Experience of Rev. Edward Payson

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The Dying Experience of Rev. Edward Payson as found in Thoughts on Religious Experience by J.A. Alexander (1809-1860)
No man in our country has left behind him a higher character for eminent piety than the Rev. Edward Payson, 1783-1827….When this faithful pastor found that his end was approaching, he felt a strong desire to address some advice to his flock. He therefore had it announced from the pulpit, that he would be pleased to see as many of them as could make it convenient to come to his house, and appointed them a time. To them, when assembled, he spoke nearly as follows: 'It has often been remarked that people who have gone to the other world cannot come back to tell us what they have seen; but I am so near the eternal world, that I can see almost as clearly as if I were there; and I see enough to satisfy myself, at least, of the truth of the doctrines which I have preached. I do not know that I should feel at all surer had I been there. It is always interesting to see others in a situation in which we know we must shortly be placed ourselves; and we all know that we must die. And to see a poor creature, when, after an alternation of hopes and fears, he finds that his disease is mortal, and death comes to tear him away from everything he loves, and crowds him to the very verge of the precipice of destruction, and then thrusts him down headlong;—there he is, cast into an unknown world! no friend, no Saviour to receive him! —O! how different is this from the state of a man who is prepared to die! He is not obliged to be crowded along, but the other world comes like a great magnet to draw him away from this; and he knows that he is going to enjoy—and not only knows but begins to taste it— perfect happiness, for ever, for ever, and ever. And now God is in this room. I see Him! and O! how unspeakably lovely and glorious does He appear! worthy of ten thousand hearts, if we had so many. He is here, and hears me pleading with the creatures that He has made, whom He preserves and loads with blessings, to love Him. And how terrible does it appear to me to sin against this God—to set up our wills in opposition to His! It makes my blood run cold to think how miserable I should now be without religion. To lie here and see myself tottering on the verge of destruction—O! I should be distracted. And when I see my fellow creatures in this situation, I am in an agony for them, that they may escape the danger before it be too late. Suppose we should hear the sound of some one pleading earnestly with another, and we should inquire, What is that man pleading for so earnestly? O! He is only pleading with a fellow creature to love his God, his Saviour, his Preserver, his Benefactor. He is only pleading with him not to throw away his immortal soul; not to pull down everlasting wretchedness on his own head. He is only persuading him to avoid eternal misery and accept eternal happiness. "Is it possible," we should exclaim, "that any persuasion can be necessary for this?" And yet it is necessary. 0! my friends! do, do love this glorious Being. Do seek the salvation of your immortal souls. Hear the voice of your dying minister, while he entreats you to care for your souls.'

On another occasion he said, 'I find satisfaction in looking at nothing that I have done. I have not fought, but Christ has fought for me. I have not run, but Christ has carried me. I have not worked, but Christ has wrought in me. Christ has done all.' The perfections of God were to him a well-spring of joy, and the promises were breasts of consolation, whence his soul drew aliment and comfort. 'O!' exclaimed he, 'the loving kindness of God! His loving kindness! This afternoon, while I was meditating, the Lord seemed to pass by and proclaim Himself, 'THE LORD GOD, MERCIFUL AND GRACIOUS ! O how gracious! Try to conceive of that—"his loving kindness", as if it were not enough to say kindness, but loving kindness! What must be the loving kindness of the Lord who is Himself infinite in love? It seemed as if Christ had said to me, "You have often wandered, and been impatient of the way by which I have led you; but what do you think of it now?" And I was cut to the heart, when I looked hack and saw the goodness by which I had been guided, that I could ever for a moment distrust His love.'

To a minister who called upon him, he said that the point in which he believed ministers failed most, and in which he had certainly failed most, was in doing duty professionally, and not from the heart. He said also, 'I have never valued as I ought the doctrines which I have preached. The system is great and glorious, and is worthy of our utmost efforts to promote it. The interests depending will justify us in our strongest measures. In every respect we may embark our all upon it; it will sustain us.' 'I was never fit to say a word to a sinner, except when I had a broken heart myself; when I was subdued and melted into penitence, and felt just as if I had received pardon to my own soul; and when my heart was full of tenderness and pity.' He seemed to be greatly affected with a view of the grace of God in saving lost men, and especially, that it should be bestowed on one so ill-deserving as himself. 'O how sovereign! O how sovereign! Grace is the only thing that can make us like God. I might be dragged through heaven, earth, and hell, and I should still be the same sinful, polluted wretch, unless God Himself should renew and cleanse me.'

In conversation with his eldest daughter, being asked whether self-examination was not a very difficult duty for young Christians, 'Yes,' he replied, 'and for old ones, too; because it is displeasing to the pride of the heart, because wandering thoughts are then most apt to intrude, and because of the deceitfulness of the heart. When a Christian first looks into his heart, he sees nothing but confusion—a heap of sins, and very little good, mixed up together; and he knows not how to separate them, or how to begin self-examination. But let him persevere in his efforts, and order will arise out of confusion.' She mentioned to him a passage in the life of Joseph Alleine, 1634-68, which led him to say, 'We never confess any faults that we really think disgraceful. We complain of our hardness of heart, stupidity, etc., but we never confess envy, covetousness, and revenge, or anything that we suppose will lower us in the opinion of others; and this proves that we do not feel ashamed of coldness and stupidity. In short, when young Christians make confessions, unless there is an obvious call for it, it commonly proceeds from one of the following motives: either they wish to be thought very humble, and to possess great knowledge of their own hearts; or they think it is a fault which the other has perceived, and they are willing to have the credit of having discovered and striven against it; or they confess some fault from which they are remarkably free, in order to elicit a compliment.'

Payson's solicitude for the welfare of his people was so great, that though he had given them one solemn address, he was not contented with that, but sent for particular classes of them. On one day, he had the young men of the congregation assembled around him, wheq he delivered to them a peculiarly solemn, tender, and appropriate exhortation. He also sent an affectionate valedictory address to the Association of ministers with whom he had been connected. The substance of it was, 'A hearty assurance of the ardent love with which he remembered them even in death—an exhortation to love one another with a pure heart fervently—to love their work—to be diligent in it—to expect success, and to bear up under discouragements—to be faithful unto death, and to look for their reward in heaven.'

While speaking of the rapturous views which he had of heaven, he was asked if it did not appear like the clear light of vision, rather than that of faith. He said, 'I don't know—it is too much for the poor eyes of my soul to bear—they are almost blinded with the excessive brightness. All I want is to be a mirror, to reflect some of those rays to those around me.'—'My soul, instead of growing weaker and more languishing, as my body does, seems to be endued with an angel's energies, and to be ready to break from the body, and join those around the throne.' When asked whether it was now incredible to him that the martyrs should rejoice in the flames and on the rack, 'No,' said he, 'I can easily believe it. I have suffered twenty times as much as I could in being burnt at the stake, while my joy in God so abounded, as to render my sufferings not only tolerable, but welcome. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.' At another time he said. 'God is now literally my all in all. While He is present with me, no event can in the least diminish my happiness; and were the whole world at my feet, trying to minister to my comfort, they could not add one drop to the cup.' 'It seems as if the promise to wipe away all tears is already accomplished, as it relates to tears of sorrow. I have no tears to shed now but tears of love and joy and thankfulness.' Shortly before his decease, he was heard to break forth in a soliloquy, of which the following is a specimen: —'What an assemblage of motives to holiness does the gospel present! I am a Christian; what then? I am a redeemed sinner—a pardoned rebel—all through grace, and by the most wonderful means which infinite wisdom could devise. I am a Christian; what then? Why, I am a temple of God, and surely I ought to be pure and holy! I am a Christian; what then? Why, I am a child of God, and ought to be filled with filial love and reverence and joy and gratitude. I am a Christian; what then? Why, I am a disciple of Christ, and must imitate Him who was meek and lowly of heart, and pleased not Himself. I am a Christian—what then? Why, I am an heir of heaven, and hastening on to the abodes of the blessed.' 'It seems as if my soul had found a pair of new wings, and was so eager to try them, that in her fluttering she would rend the fine network of the body to pieces.' He had the choir to come in and sing for him, and chose the hymn, 'Rise, my soul', etc. Soon afterwards he expired, October 21, 1827.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Wrath of God: Part 2 of 2

The Wrath of God
by A.W. Pink

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That Divine wrath is one of the perfections of God is not only evident from the considerations presented above, but is also clearly established by the express declarations of His own Word. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven" (Rom. 1:18). Robert Haldane comments on this verse as follows:

It was revealed when the sentence of death was first pronounced, the earth cursed, and man driven out of the earthly paradise; and afterwards by such examples of punishment as those of the Deluge and the destruction of the Cities of the Plain by fire from heaven; but especially by the reign of death throughout the world. It was proclaimed in the curse of the law on every transgression, and was intimated in the institution of sacrifice. In the 8th of Romans, the apostle calls the attention of believers to the fact that the whole creation has become subject to vanity, and groaneth and travaileth together in pain. The same creation which declares that there is a God, and publishes His glory, also proclaims that He is the Enemy of sin and the Avenger of the crimes of men . . . But above all, the wrath of God was revealed from heaven when the Son of God came down to manifest the Divine character, and when that wrath was displayed in His sufferings and death, in a manner more awful than by all the tokens God had before given of His displeasure against sin. Besides this, the future and eternal punishment of the wicked is now declared in terms more solemn and explicit than formerly. Under the new dispensation there are two revelations given from heaven, one of wrath, the other of grace.

Again; that the wrath of God is a Divine perfection is plainly demonstrated by what we read of in Psalm 95:11, "Unto whom I sware in My wrath." There are two occasions of God "swearing": in making promises (Gen. 22:16), and in denouncing threatening (Deut. 1:34). In the former, He swares in mercy to His children; in the latter, He swares to terrify the wicked. An oath is for solemn confirmation: Hebrews 6:16. In Genesis 22:16 God said, "By Myself have I sworn." In Psalm 89:35 He declares, "Once have I sworn by My holiness." While in Psalm 95:11 He affirmed, "I swear in My wrath." Thus the great Jehovah Himself appeals to His "wrath" as a perfection equal to His "holiness": He swares by the one as much as by the other! Again; as in Christ "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9), and as all the Divine perfections are illustriously displayed by Him (John 1:18), therefore do we read of "the wrath of the Lamb" (Rev. 6:16).

The wrath of God is a perfection of the Divine character upon which we need to frequently meditate. First, that our hearts may be duly impressed by God’s detestation of sin. We are ever prone to regard sin lightly, to gloss over its hideousness, to make excuses for it. But the more we study and ponder God’s abhorrence of sin and His frightful vengeance upon it, the more likely are we to realize its heinousness. Second, to beget a true fear in our souls for God: "Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:28,29). We cannot serve Him "acceptably" unless there is due "reverence" for His awful Majesty and "godly fear" of His righteous anger, and these are best promoted by frequently calling to mind that "our God is a consuming fire." Third, to draw out our souls in fervent praise for having delivered us from "the wrath to come" (1 Thess. 1:10).

Our readiness or our reluctancy to meditate upon the wrath of God becomes a sure test of how our hearts’ really stand affected toward Him. If we do not truly rejoice in God, for what He is in Himself, and that because of all the perfections which are eternally resident in Him, then how dwelleth the love of God in us? Each of us needs to be most prayerfully on his guard against devising an image of God in our thoughts which is patterned after our own evil inclinations. Of old the Lord complained, "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether as thyself" (Ps. 50:21), If we rejoice not "at the remembrance of His holiness" (Ps. 97:12), if we rejoice not to know that in a soon coming Day God will make a most glorious display of His wrath, by taking vengeance on all who now oppose Him, it is proof positive that our hearts are not in subjection to Him, that we are yet in our sins, on the way to the everlasting burnings.

"Rejoice, O ye nations (Gentiles) His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries" (Deut. 32:43). And again we read, "I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God; For true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And again they said Alleluia." (Rev. 19:13). Great will be the rejoicing of the saints in that day when the Lord shall vindicate His majesty, exercise His awful dominion, magnify His justice, and overthrow the proud rebels who have dared to defy Him.

"If thou Lord, shouldest mark (impute) iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" (Ps. 130:3). Well may each of us ask this question, for it is written, "the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment" (Ps. 1:5). How sorely was Christ’s soul exercised with thoughts of God’s marking the iniquities of His people when they were upon Him! He was "amazed and very heavy" (Mark 14:33). His awful agony, His bloody sweat, His strong cries and supplications (Heb. 5:7), His reiterated prayers ("If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me"), His last dreadful cry, ("My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?") all manifest what fearful apprehensions He had of what it was for God to "mark iniquities." Well may poor sinners cry out, "Lord who shall stand" when the Son of God Himself so trembled beneath the weight of His wrath? If thou, my reader, hast not "fled for refuge" to Christ, the only Saviour, "how wilt thou do in the swelling of the Jordan?" (Jer. 12:5)?

When I consider how the goodness of God is abused by the greatest part of mankind, I cannot but be of his mind that said, The greatest miracle in the world is God’s patience and bounty to an ungrateful world. If a prince hath an enemy got into one of his towns, he doth not send them in provision, but lays close siege to the place, and doth what he can to starve them. But the great God, that could wink all His enemies into destruction, bears with them, and is at daily cost to maintain them. Well may He command us to bless them that curse us, who Himself does good to the evil and unthankful. But think not, sinners, that you shall escape thus; God’s mill goes slow, but grinds small; the more admirable His patience and bounty now is, the more dreadful and unsupportable will that fury be which ariseth out of His abused goodness. Nothing smoother than the sea, yet when stirred into a tempest, nothing rageth more. Nothing so sweet as the patience and goodness of God, and nothing so terrible as His wrath when it takes fire. (Wm Gurnall, 1660).

Then flee, my reader, flee to Christ; "flee from the wrath to come" (Matt. 3:7) ere it be too late. Do not, we earnestly beseech you, suppose that this message is intended for somebody else. It is to you! Do not be contented by thinking you have already fled to Christ. Make certain! Beg the Lord to search your heart and show you yourself.

The Wrath of God: Part 1 of 2

The Wrath of God
by A.W. Pink

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It is sad to find so many professing Christians who appear to regard the wrath of God as something for which they need to make an apology, or at least they wish there were no such thing. While some would not go so far as to openly admit that they consider it a blemish on the Divine character, yet they are far from regarding it with delight, they like not to think about it, and they rarely hear it mentioned without a secret resentment rising up in their hearts against it. Even with those who are more sober in their judgment, not a few seem to imagine that there is a severity about the Divine wrath which is too terrifying to form a theme for profitable contemplation. Others harbor the delusion that God’s wrath is not consistent with His goodness, and so seek to banish it from their thoughts.

Yes, many there are who turn away from a vision of God’s wrath as though they were called to look upon some blotch in the Divine character, or some blot upon the Divine government. But what saith the Scriptures? As we turn to them we find that God has made no attempt to conceal the fact of His wrath. He is not ashamed to make it known that vengeance and fury belong unto Him. His own challenge is, "See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand. For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live forever, If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me" (Deut. 32:39-41). A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; And because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner: Psalm 7:11.

Now the wrath of God is as much a Divine perfection as is His faithfulness, power, or mercy. It must be so, for there is no blemish whatever, not the slightest defect in the character of God; yet there would be if "wrath" were absent from Him! Indifference to sin is a moral blemish, and he who hates it not is a moral leper. How could He who is the Sum of all excellency look with equal satisfaction upon virtue and vice, wisdom and folly? How could He who is infinitely holy disregard sin and refuse to manifest His "severity" (Rom. 9:12) toward it? How could He who delights only in that which is pure and lovely, loathe and hate not that which is impure and vile? The very nature of God makes Hell as real a necessity, as imperatively and eternally requisite as Heaven is. Not only is there no imperfection in God, but there is no perfection in Him that is less perfect than another.

The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin. It is the moving cause of that just sentence which He passes upon evil-doers. God is angry against sin because it is a rebelling against His authority, a wrong done to His inviolable sovereignty. Insurrectionists against God’s government shall be made to know that God is the Lord. They shall be made to feel how great that Majesty is which they despise, and how dreadful is that threatened wrath which they so little regarded. Not that God’s anger is a malignant and malicious retaliation, inflicting injury for the sake of it, or in return for injury received. No; while God will vindicate His dominion as the Governor of the universe, He will not be vindictive.

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Calvin and Hobbes

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Myth of Free Speech

"The dream of absolute free speech is a myth and a delusion. No society has ever granted it. We do not recognize the right of a man to shout "fire!" in a crowded theater, nor to call for the execution of the President, nor to publish totally false and malicious statements with respect lo a man. Speech must be responsible to be free, and there is a social necessity for freedom of responsible speech. The advocates of free speech are logical in also demanding free action, freedom from all responsibility in speech and act. No society can exist if such total freedom from responsibility is permitted. Not surprisingly, the most vocal champions of free speech today are those who champion a revolution which will deny free speech to all others tomorrow. They suppress free speech in a very real fear of the responsible word as well as the irresponsible one. The foundations of their fear of contrary words is in part political safely, and in part religious fear."

-R.J. Rushdoony in Institutes of Biblical Law

Monday, December 13, 2010

Judge not, that ye be not judged

Judge not, that ye be not judged
by J.C. Ryle

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

-Matthew 7: 1-5

“The first portion of these verses is one of those passages of Scripture, which we must be careful not to strain beyond its proper meaning. It is frequently abused and misapplied, by the enemies of true religion. It is possi­ble to press the words of the Bible so far that they yield not medicine, but poison.

Our Lord does not mean that it is wrong, under any circumstances, to pass an unfavorable judgment on the conduct and opinions of others. We ought to have decided opinions. We are to "prove all things." We are to "try the spirits."—Nor yet does He mean that it is wrong to reprove the sins and faults of others, until we ire perfect and faultless ourselves. Such an interpreta­tion would contradict other parts of Scripture. It would make it impossible to condemn error and false doctrine. It would debar any one from attempting the office of a minister or a judge. The earth would be "given into the hands of the wicked." (John ix. 24.) Heresy would flourish. Wrong-doing would abound.

What our Lord means to condemn is a censorious and fault-finding spirit. A readiness to blame others for trifling offences, or matters of indifference—a habit of passing rash and hasty judgments—a disposition to magnify the errors and infirmities of our neighbors, and make the worst of them—this is what our Lord forbids. It was common among the Pharisees. It has always been common from their day down to the present time. We must all watch against it. We should "believe all things," and "hope all things" about others, and be very slow to find fault. This is Christian charity. (1 Cor. xiii 7)”

-J.C. Ryle in Expository thoughts on the Gospels

1514839: Expository Thoughts on Matthew Expository Thoughts on Matthew

By J.C. Ryle / Banner Of Truth

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Dying Experience of John Janeway

The Dying Experience of John Janeway as found in Thoughts on Religious Experience by J.A. Alexander (1809-1860)

JOHN JANEWAY, 1633-57, was a young man who had just entered the holy ministry, when he was called away, and exchanged earth for heaven. He was never permitted to preach more than two sermons, before his lungs were so affected that he was obliged to cease from his earthly labours. During his last days he was absorbed in the contemplation of Christ and heaven. His meditations, his discourses, his whole deportment, made it evident that he was ripening for glory. His faith had grown up to a full assurance, and he often feasted on the rich provisions of God's house, and enjoyed many foretastes of future blessed­ness. The Lord often called him up to the mount and let him see His glory. In the midst of earthly comforts he longed for death, and his thoughts of the day of judgment were refreshing to him. He would say, 'What if the day of judgment were come, even this hour? I would be glad with all my heart. I should behold such lightnings, and hear such thunderings as Israel did at the mount, and I am persuaded that my heart would leap for joy. The meditation of that day has even ravished my soul; and the thoughts of its certainty and nearness are more refreshing to my soul than all earthly comforts. Surely nothing can more revive my spirit, than to behold the blessed Jesus, who is the life and joy of my soul.'

When he began to sink rapidly under his complaint, his soul was so devoutly occupied in the contemplation of Christ and heaven, that he almost forgot his pains and sickness. His faith, his love, and his joy, exceedingly abounded. He would frequently exclaim, 'O that I could let you know what I feel! O that I could show you what I now see! O that I could express the thousandth part of that sweetness which I now find in Christ! You would then all think it worth while to make religion your chief busi­ness. O my dear friends, you little think what Christ is worth upon a death-bed. I would not now for a world, nay, for a million worlds, be without Christ and pardon. I would not for a world live any longer, and the very thought of a possibility of recovery makes me tremble. I do tell you, that I so long to be with Christ, that I could be content to be cut in pieces, and put to the most exquisite tortures, so I might but die and be with Christ. O! how sweet Jesus is. "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." Death, do thy worst. Death has lost its terrors. Through grace I can say, death is nothing to me. I can as easily die as shut my eyes. I long to die— I long to be with Christ.' He charged his friends most earnestly, not to pray for his life. 'O! the glory, the unspeakable glory which I behold—my heart is full—my heart is full. Christ smiles, and I am constrained to smile. Can you find it in your hearts to stop me now I am going to the complete and eternal enjoyment of Christ? Would you keep me from my crown? The arms of my blessed Saviour are open to receive me. The angels stand ready to carry my soul into His bosom. O! did you but see what I see, you would cry out with me, "Dear Lord, how long?" "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." "O! why are thy chariot wheels so long in coming?"'

A minister having spoken to him of the joys of heaven, he said: 'Sir, I feel something of it. My heart is as full as it can hold in this lower state. I can hold no more. O! that I could but let you know what I feel. Who am I, Lord, who am I, that Thou shouldst be mindful of me? Why me, Lord, why me? and pass by thousands to look on such a wretch as I? O! what shall I say unto thee, Thou Preserver of men? O! blessed, and for ever blessed, be free grace! Why is it, Lord, that Thou shouldst mani­fest Thyself unto me and not to others? "Even so, Father, because it seemed good in thy sight." Thou wilt have mercy, because Thou wilt have mercy. And if thou wilt look on such a poor worm, who can hinder? Who would not love thee, O blessed Father? O! how sweet and gracious hast Thou been to me! O! that He should have me in His thoughts before the foundation of the world!'

On one occasion, after his brother had been praying with him, his joys became unutterable; he broke out in such exclamations as these, 'O! He is come—He is come—how sweet, how glorious, is the blessed Jesus! He is altogether lovely. How shall I speak the thousandth part of His praise? O for words to set forth a little part of His excellency! Come, look on a dying man and wonder. Was there ever greater kindness? Were there ever more sensible manifestations of grace? O! why me, Lord, why me? Surely this is akin to heaven, and if I were never to enjoy more than this, it is more than a sufficient recompense for all that men and devils could inflict. If this be dying, it is sweet. The bed is soft. Christ's arms, and smiles, and love, surely would turn hell into heaven. O! that you did but see and feel what I do. Behold a dying man, more cheerful than you ever saw a man in health, in the midst of his sweetest worldly enjoyments. O! sirs, worldly pleasures are poor, pitiful, sorry things, when compared with this glory in my soul.' He often exhorted those around him to assist him in his praises. 'O!' said he, 'help me to praise God. Henceforth, through eternity, I have nothing else to do but to love and praise the Lord. I cannot tell what to pray for, which is not already given me. I want only one thing, and that is, a speedy lift to heaven. I expect no more here. I desire no more—I can bear no more. O! praise, praise, praise that boundless love which has wonderfully looked upon my soul, and has done more for me than for thousands of His children. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. O my friends, help me, help me, to admire and praise Him who hath done such astonishing wonders for my soul. He has pardoned all my sins and filled me with His goodness. He has given me grace and glory, and no good thing has He withheld from me. All ye mighty angels, help me to praise God. Let every thing that has being help me to praise Him. Praise is my work now, and will be my work for ever. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!'

A few hours before his death he had his mother and brothers and sisters called around his bed, when in a most solemn and affecting manner he addressed himself in turn to each, and took leave of them. To his mother he offered his thanks for her tender love, and expressed his desire that she might see Christ formed in the hearts of all her children, and meet them all with joy at the day of judgment. Then he took his brothers and sisters in order, and offered an appropriate petition for each. He then said, 'O! that none of us may be found among the unconverted in the day of judgment! O! that we may all appear with our honoured father and dear mother, before Christ with joy. O! that we may live to God here, and live with God hereafter. And now, my dear mother, brothers, and sisters, farewell!' His last words were, 'My work is done—I have fought a good fight,' etc. 'Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.' After which he immediately expired.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

A. A. Hodge on Public Schools

"The United States system of national popular education will be the most efficient and wide instrument for the propagation of Atheism which the world has ever seen."

—A. A. Hodge (1823 – 1886)
As quoted in  Excused Absence by Douglas Wilson

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lower and More Humiliating

"Get humble and abasing thoughts of yourself. The humble is ever the patient man. Pride is the source of irregular and sinful passions. A lofty, will be an unyielding and peevish spirit. When we overrate ourselves, we think that we are treated unworthily, that our trials are too severe: thus we cavil and repine. Christian, you should have such thoughts of yourself as would put a stop to these murmurings. You should have lower and more humiliating views of yourself than any other one can have of you. Get humility, and you will have peace whatever be your trial."

  -John Flavel from Keeping the Heart

Every Thought!

2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. Every thought! Every thought!

Think about that for a moment; every thought. No exceptions, no special cases. Every last thought. Think of the ramifications!

We don’t do anything without thinking about it. We may not think about it for very long, we may not think about it very well, we may not think about it very thoroughly, but we think about everything that we do. And every one of these thoughts that we think should be thought in terms of how it relates to obedience to Christ. And if every thought that is thought is brought into obedience to Jesus Christ, every action flowing from those thoughts must necessarily also be brought into obedience to Jesus Christ.

So when Scripture tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ, it implies that every action must also necessarily be brought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. But that isn’t all, it implies something more. The command to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ also implies that the Bible somehow addresses every thought that can be thunked and every thing that can be done. No exceptions. No roped off areas. No God free zones. No exemptions ever, at any time, concerning anything.

Put this all together and we see that everything that can be thought and everything that can be done can, and must, be thought and done in a distinctively Christian manner.

Math must be done in a distinctively Christian manner; the mathematician must bring his mathematical thoughts into obedience to Christ. God addresses mathematics in His word, it has a purpose in relation to Him. It, like everything else that exists, is from Him and through Him and to Him (Romans 11:36).

The historian must approach history from a distinctively Christian perspective, bringing all his historical thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Always keeping in mind what the study of history is meant to teach us according to the word of God.

Education, the transfer of thoughts from the teacher to the student, must be done in a distinctively Christian manner; transferring Christ captivated thoughts to the students.

Law making must be done in a distinctively Christian manner; the law maker must bring his law making thoughts into obedience to Christ. The laws that he seeks to establish must be those that please Christ in accordance with His revealed will in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

Penology and Penological thoughts must be brought captive to the obedience of Christ. Justice must be served as God defines it and reveals it and the punishment of criminal activity must accord with the revelation of God.

The auto mechanic must bring his mechanical thoughts and actions captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.

We could go on and on and on. Unless a person stops thinking altogether there is nowhere to hide from the responsibility to submit every detail of life to Jesus Christ. Now there’s something to think about!

Monday, December 6, 2010

No Cherished Beliefs?

"Education is the process of taking a culture's values, assumptions, traditions, and beliefs, then transmitting them from one genera­tion to the next. Because our culture is in crisis, we should not be surprised that the process of education also is in crisis. We have established a vast machinery for educating our children—com­pulsory education laws to require attendance for many years, sig­nificant tax burdens on property owners to pay for it all, and politicians who promise to support this ganglion of problems. We have built an immense mechanism to pass on our cherished beliefs to our children, but, much to our chagrin, we have now come to discover that we no longer have any cherished beliefs.

Actually, we do have one cherished belief left—that our gov­ernment schools exist "for the kids," and that a vote for school levies is necessarily a vote "for the kids." Anyone who differs with this belief, we are told, must be hostile to kids..."

From Excused Absence by Douglas Wilson

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Infinite Savior: Part 2 of 2

At this point many will appeal to the love of God. They heard somewhere that God is love, and they believe that God must be love, so with this in mind they bank their eternal souls on this assumption: God is love and therefore He will overlook the sins that I have committed.

 But in reality even the attribute of God’s love is, in one sense, turned against us as sinners: Because God is perfectly good and loves what is good, He must hate what is not good; and sin is not good. Because God is perfect love and loves what is lovable and most worthy of love, He must hate what is contrary to love; and mutinous self-centered sin is contrary to love. And because God is perfectly just and loves what is perfectly just, He must hate what is unjust; and sin is unjust. He must punish every sin or He Himself becomes unjust and a lover of what is wrong. He then would become unloving and a hater of His own attributes. Far from stteing us free from the wrath of God, His love in some ways only serve to compound our problem. We are truly in a  dilemma!

Who can pay an infinite debt? There is only one answer dear reader; an infinite being! Only God could pay an infinite price. Only God could expunge such a debt. Only God could absorb an infinite punishment and then say, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

In Jesus Christ we have God in human flesh taking upon Himself the sin of His people and absorbing that sin in full. In Jesus Christ we have a man keeping the Law of God that mankind did not keep and we have man dying the death that mankind deserved. Yet at the same time we have the infinite God in the person of the Son paying the infinite debt that we owe to God the Father! Who but God could come up with such a wonderful and gracious plan?

Without violating justice at all, He has dealt out the perfect punishment for our sin. But in an act of incomprehensible love he has taken that punishment upon himself for all those who will humble themselves, surrender to Him and trust Him entirely to deliver them from the wrath that they deserve.

Reader, if the Jesus you know and worship is not the second person of the Trinity; God the Son, fully God and yet fully man, then you do not worship the Jesus of the Bible. And if the Jesus that you call “Savior” is not God in human flesh, then your “Savior” cannot save you from the infinite guilt of your sins! If your Jesus is not God, then you must die in your sins and you must wear out eternity suffering the righteous judgment of God for the myriad of sins that you have committed against Him.

But why do such a horrible thing? Why not turn from your sins and flee to the real Savior? Why not flee to the Savior who is willing to save those who have foolishly rebelled against Him? Why not flee to the Savior who is kind enough to save those who have hated Him for no reason? Why not flee to the Savior who is powerful enough to pay for sin in full? Why be estranged from such a Savior when He so graciously invites you to come to Him?

That Jesus alone can give you rest from the burden of your sins!

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…”
1 Timothy 1:15

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
Hebrews 7:25

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Infinite Savior: Part 1 of 2

The Infinite Savior

In Psalm 51:4 King David weeps very bitterly to the Lord, “Against You, You only have I sinned”

This is a most remarkable statement considering the fact that he had just committed adultery, taken the wife of one of his most faithful soldiers and arranged to have this faithful soldier killed on the battlefield. King David sinned against Uriah, Bathsheba, his own family and his entire kingdom, but yet he says to the Lord “Against You, You only have I sinned”? How could he say such a thing?

The answer to this perplexing question lies in the very nature of God Himself. Sin derives its definition and wrongness from God. Sin is what it is in light of who God is and sin does not exist apart from Him. Sin is not a standard over God and above God that exists apart from God. God does not look to the standard of sin to see what is right or wrong, but rather God defines the standard. God is ultimate and God tells us what things are sin and what things are not sin. If there’s no God, if there isn’t any ultimate being who defines sin, then sin simply does not exist.

But there is a God, and He has defined sin and righteousness for us. He is the ultimate, final authority and He is the standard. He is the Law maker and Judge. Therefore any sin that we commit is against Him and against His authority as the one and only Lawgiver. When we break His law we are assailing Him as Judge. Any lack of conformity to His Law is an attack upon Him and rebellion against Him. Sin is mutiny of the worst kind; the wicked act of the creature trying to usurp the throne and authority of the Creator.

Sin is ultimately therefore against God. But perhaps the most fearful thought in this regard is this: Sin is against an eternal and infinite God: Let that sink in for a moment…. Sin is against an eternal and infinite God. This being the case our sin takes on an eternal and infinite character that we cannot get rid of.

Think about this: God is infinite (limitless) and we are finite (limited), when we sin against an infinite God we accrue an infinite amount of guilt and our sin takes on an infinite quality that we as finite creatures cannot remove. We cannot expunge it no matter how hard we try. We cannot atone for it and we cannot go back in time and undo it. As far as our own ability is concerned, we are irrevocably joined to our sins and their guilt. We cannot extricate ourselves from their permeating grip; we are trapped and completely helpless to free ourselves from them.

We have dishonored God and cannot give Him His honor back, we have robbed Him of the glory that is due Him and we cannot make restitution. We have broken His law and cannot un-break it. As long as God exists, the guilt of our sin exists. And as long as God exists we remain finite law breakers who cannot absorb the punishment that we deserve.

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Into the Great Gates of Hell

 "I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt....I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth."

-Martin Luther

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink

The Sovereignty of God
By Arthur W. Pink / Baker

It was about 13 years ago now. Someone had reported me to the Elders of the church that I was attending for teaching Reformed doctrines in a weekly Bible Study. I was called into one pastor’s office to discuss the matter when the he looked at me and asked “So, what have you been reading lately, beside the Bible?”

I didn’t read much else beside the Bible at the time so I stopped to think for a minute. “Jonathan Edwards” I said, “A.W. Pink”

“Ah!”, said the pastor as his eyes narrowed, “A.W. Pink, he sees Jesus in everything!” I remember the excitement that started racing through my mind; “Wow!” I thought, “I wish I could see Jesus in everything, maybe I should read more Pink!”

But my excitement quickly dissipated as I realized the Pastor saw this as a bad thing. Nevertheless, that night cemented my admiration of A.W. Pink and I’ve been a fan ever since. If that’s the worst your detractors can say about you, you’re doing well.

While I would highly recommend most of Pinks writings, three of them stand out above the rest in my own opinion and this is one of them; The Sovereignty of God

This book has changed countless lives as it has, perhaps, been more instrumental than any other single book (at least in more modern times) in leading people to an understanding and embracing of the Sovereignty of God and the Doctrines of Grace; and what could be more life changing than to realize that you are a lifeless child of wrath lying helplessly in the hand of a Holy God who sovereignty controls everything for His own purpose? While there is probably nothing more hateful to the unredeemed than a sovereign enemy, there is certainly nothing more blessed to the redeemed than a loving, protective Father who can’t be thwarted? As Isaac Watts put it:

The more Thy glories strike mine eyes
The humbler I shall lie;
Thus, while I sink, my joys shall rise
Unmeasurably high.

If you’re not familiar with the Doctrines of Grace this is a great introduction to them.  Pink is straight forward, references a great deal of scripture, is usually very easy to read and avoids the fluffy nonsense so common in many of today’s teachers.

And if you’re already familiar with the sovereignty of God and the Doctrines of Grace you will still enjoy the reminders of these basic truths of the gospel and the many insights Pink offers.

I especially enjoyed the chapter on The Value of this Doctrine as Pink walks through some of the more practical applications of these great truths. God does not reveal these great things just to satisfy our curiosity, but edify our souls and radically change our lives!

The Contents of the Book:
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • 1. God's Sovereignty Defined
  • 2. The Sovereignty of God in Creation
  • 3. The Sovereignty of God in Administration
  • 4. The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
  • 5. The Sovereignty of God in Reprobation
  • 6. The Sovereignty of God in Operation
  • 7. God's Sovereignty and the Human Will
  • 8. God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
  • 9. God's Sovereignty and Prayer
  • 10. Our Attitude towards God's Sovereignty
  • 11. Difficulties and Objections
  • 12. The Value of this Doctrine
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix 1. The Will of God
  • Appendix 2. The Case of Adam
  • Appendix 3. The Meaning of "KOSMOS" in John 3:16
  • Appendix 4. 1 John 2.2
Some good quotes from the book:

Real Rest:

“Ah, dear reader, there is no real rest for your poor heart until you learn to see the hand of God in everything.”

The Beauty of Truth:

“Almost all doctrinal error is, really, Truth perverted, Truth wrongly divided, Truth disproportionately held and taught. The fairest face on earth, with the most comely fea­tures, would soon become ugly and unsightly, if one member continued growing while the others remained undeveloped. Beauty is, primarily, a matter of proportion. Thus it is with the Word of God: its beauty and blessedness are best per­ceived when its manifold wisdom is exhibited in its true pro­portions…”

The God of the Popular Mind:

“How different is the God of the Bible from the God of modern Christendom! The conception of Deity which pre­vails most widely today, even among those who profess to give heed to the Scriptures, is a miserable caricature, a pathetic travesty of the Truth.   The God of the twentieth century is a helpless, effeminate being who commands the re­spect of no really thoughtful man.   The God of the popular mind is the creation of a maudlin sentimentality.  The God of many a present-day pulpit is an object of pity rather than of awe-inspiring reverence…”

The Cause of Election:

“A remnant according to the election of grace."    Here the cause of election is traced back to its source.   The basis-upon which God elected this "remnant" was not faith fore­seen in them, because a choice founded upon the foresight of good works is just as truly made on the ground of works as any choice can be, and in such a case, it would not be "of grace "; for, says the apostle, " if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace"; which means that grace and works are opposites, they have nothing in common, and will no more mingle than will oil and water.   Thus the idea of inherent good foreseen in those chosen, or of anything meritorious performed by them, is rigidly excluded.   "A remnant according to the election of grace," signifies an unconditional choice resulting from the sovereign favour of God; in a word, it is absolutely a gratu­itous election.”

Salvation and Means:

“It is to "salvation” itself that God hath chosen us….we are warned here that election unto salvation does not dis­regard the use of appropriate means:  salvation is reached through "sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." It is not true that, because God has chosen a certain one to salvation, he will be saved willy-nilly, whether he believes or not: nowhere do the Scriptures so represent it.   The same God who predestined the end, also appointed the means; the same God who "chose unto salvation," decreed that His purpose should be realized through the work of the Spirit and belief of the truth...”

The Unassailable Comfort of God's People:

“…instead of shrinking back in horror from the doc­trine of predestination, the believer, when he sees this blessed truth, as it is unfolded in the Word, discovers a ground for gratitude and thanksgiving such as nothing else affords, save the unspeakable gift of the Redeemer Himself…. herein lies the unassailable comfort of God's people.   If His choice has been from eternity it will last to eternity!”

Faith; Gods Gift:

"What was there in the elect themselves which attracted God's heart to them? Was it because of certain virtues they possessed? because they were generous-hearted, sweet-tem­pered, truth-speaking? in a word, because they were " good," that God chose them? No; for our Lord said, "There is none good but one, that is God " (Matt. 19:17). Was it be­cause of any good works they had performed? No; for it is written, "There is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:13). Was it because they evidenced an earnestness and zeal in inquiring after God? No; for it is written again, "There is none that seeketh after God" (Rom. 3: 11). Was it because God foresaw they would believe? No; for how can those who are "dead in trespasses and sins" believe in Christ? How could God foreknow some men as believers when belief was impossible to them? Scripture declares that we "believe through grace" (Acts i8:»7). Faith is God's gift, and apart from this gift none would believe. The cause of His choice then lies within Himself and not in the objects of His choice. He chose the ones He did, simply because He chose to choose them.”

The New Birth:
"When all Thy mercies O my God
My wondering soul surveys,
Transported with the view I’m lost
In wonder, love and praise."


“A LL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for in­struction in righteousness: that the man of God may be per­fect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (s Tim. 3: 16, 17). "Doctrine" means "teaching" and it is by doctrine or teaching that the great realities of God and of our relation to Him—of Christ, the Spirit, salvation, grace, glory, are made known to us. It is by doctrine (through the power of the Spirit) that believers are nourished and edified, and where doctrine is neglected, growth in grace and effective witnessing for Christ necessarily cease. How sad then that doctrine is now decried as "unpractical" when, in fact, doc­trine is the very basis of the practical life. There is an in­separable connection between belief and practice—"As he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Pro. 23: 7). The relation be­tween Divine truth and Christian character is that of cause to effect—"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free " (John 8: 32)—free from ignorance, free from prejudice, free from error, free from the wiles of Satan, free from the power of evil; and if the truth is not "known" then such freedom will not be enjoyed.”

More Doctrine:

“The substitution of so-called "practical" preaching for the doctrinal exposition which it has supplanted is the root cause of many of the evil maladies which now afflict the church of God. The reason why there is so little depth, so little in­telligence, so little grasp of the fundamental verities of Chris­tianity, is because so few believers have been established in the faith through hearing the doctrines of grace ex­pounded, and through their own personal study of them. While the soul is unestablished in the doctrine of the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures—their full and verbal inspira­tion—there can be no firm foundation for faith to rest upon. While the soul is ignorant of the doctrine of Justification, there can be no real and intelligent assurance of its accept­ance in the Beloved. While the soul is unacquainted with the teaching of the Word upon Sanctification, it is open to receive all the errors of Perfectionism or other wrong teach­ing. And so we might go on right through the entire range of Christian doctrine. It is ignorance of doctrine that has rendered the professing church helpless to cope with the ris­ing tide of infidelity. It is ignorance of doctrine which is mainly responsible for thousands of professing Christians being captivated by the numerous false "isms" of the day. It is because the time has now arrived when the bulk of our churches "will not endure sound doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:3) that they so readily receive false doctrines.”

Sovereignty; the Center of Gravity:

“The doctrine of God's sove­reignty lies at the foundation of Christian theology, and in importance is perhaps second only to the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures. It is the centre of gravity in the system of Christian truth; the sun around which all the lesser orbs are grouped; the cord upon which all other doctrines are strung like so many pearls, holding them in place and giving them unity. It is the plumbline by which every creed needs to be tested; the balance in which every human dogma must be weighed. It is designed as the sheet-anchor for our souls amid the storms of life. The doctrine of God's sovereignty is a Divine cordial to refresh our spirits. It is designed and adapted to mould the affections of the heart, and to give a right direction to conduct. It produces gratitude in pros­perity and patience in adversity. It affords comfort for the present and a sense of security respecting the unknown future. It is, and it does, all and much more than we have just said, because it ascribes to God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—the glory which is His due, and places the creature in his proper place before Him—in the dust.”

70163: The Sovereignty of God The Sovereignty of God
By Arthur W. Pink / Baker

CBD says: "Who controls this world? God or the Devil? Pink asks this in this introductory study of the sovereignty of God. To relieve the panic-stricken believer Pink's answer encourøages us to '' Fear not! . . . all things are working together for good to them that love God . . . '' Quoting freely from Scripture he searches the Scriptures and tackles the profoundest questions, responding in language written for the ease and interest of any layperson. 261 pages, paper from Baker."