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The Doctrines of Election and Final Perseverance

by John Newton

Dear Sir,

Your letter breathes the spirit of a Christian, though you say you are not a Calvinist. I would have still confined myself, in my letters, to the great truths in which we are agreed, if you had not invited me to touch upon the points wherein we differ. If you were insistent in your present sentiments, I would not think it my duty to debate with you: in that case, we might contend as much for victory as for truth. But as you profess yourself an inquirer, and are desirous of forming your judgment agreeably to the word of God, without being influenced by the authority of names and parties, I willingly embrace the occasion you offer me.

You say, that though you are not prejudiced against the doctrines of election and perseverance of the saints, they appear to you attended with such difficulties, that you cannot yet heartily and fully assent to them. May the Lord the Spirit, whose office it is to guide his people into all truth, dictate to my pen, and accompany what I shall write with his blessing. It is not my intention to prove and illustrate these doctrines at large, or to encounter the various objections that have been raised against them. So much has been done in this way already, that I could only repeat what has been said to greater advantage by others. Nor need I refer you to the books which have been professedly written upon this argument. In a letter to a friend, I shall not aim at the exactness of a disputant, but only offer a few unpremeditated hints, in the same manner as if I had the pleasure of personally conversing with you.

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 16:36 -- john_hendryx

"Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani!"

by F. W. Krummacher (1796-1868)

Once, when a voice spoke from heaven to the people who were assembled around Jesus, the evangelist relates, that "some said it thundered; others, that an angel spoke to him." No one exactly knew what to make of the wondrous sound, although all were affected, amazed, and thrilled by a secret awe. Such are our feelings on the present occasion, on hearing the echo of the cry, which sounds down from the cross; and I confess that my soul trembles at the idea of approaching the unfathomable depth of suffering, from whence the cry of "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani" proceeded. How much rather would I lie prostrate on my face in silence before this awful incident, than write or speak upon it! You know what happened to Luther, when he plunged himself in profound meditation on this most enigmatical and affecting part of the whole of our Savior's sufferings. He continued for a long time without food, and sat wide awake, but as motionless as a corpse, in the same position, on his chair. And when at length he rose up from the depth of his cogitation; as from the shaft of a mysterious mine, he broke into a cry of amazement, and exclaimed, "God forsaken of God! Who can understand it?" Yes, who is there that is able? We find ourselves surrounded by an impenetrable darkness. But if the understanding has here reached the boundary of all human comprehension, yet faith finds a path amid these mysterious shades. A holy light precedes it, and that light is derived from the Savior's Mediatorship. Enlightened by it, let us now contemplate, more closely, the awful cry of the dying Redeemer.

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 17:07 -- john_hendryx

Four Things that Belong to the Nature of Sincerity

by Jonathan Edwards

There are many that make a profession and show of religion, and some that do many of the outward things which it requires, and possibly they may think that they have done and suffered much for God and his service. But the great inquiry is, has the heart been sincere in it all, and has all been suffered or done from a regard to the divine glory? Doubtless, if we examine ourselves, we may see much of hypocrisy. But is there any sincerity? God abominates the greatest things without sincerity, but he accepts of and delights in little things when they spring from sincere love to himself. A cup of cold water given to a disciple in sincere love, is worth more in God's sight than all one's goods given to feed the poor, yea, than the wealth of a kingdom given away, or a body offered up in the flames, without love. And God accepts of even a little sincere love. Though there be a great deal of imperfection, yet, if there be any true sincerity in our love, that little shall not be rejected because there is some hypocrisy with it. And here it may be profitable to observe, that there are these four things that belong to the nature of sincerity, viz. truth, freedom, integrity, and purity.

Sun, 04/14/2019 - 10:58 -- john_hendryx

Does TULIP Make Man an Automaton?

Since we cannot pry into the secret will of God, we do not know who the elect are. From our standpoint, we have the good news and we see our friends perishing. What are we going to do with that? Hopefully it is to love our neighbor. God had such great mercy on us ... so we ought to be filled with hope that God shows mercy to our neighbor. We do this by praying for them and declaring the gospel to them, among other things.

Election is certainly no excuse for apathy, but gives us hope for our neighbor. It is through the gospel that God gathers His elect. We cast the seed of the gospel and the Spirit "germinates" the seed, so to speak in those that the Father elected in Christ before time - those for whom the Son died. And "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (Rom 10:17)

Visitor Comment: TULIP makes God responsible for sin, man an automaton and "whosoever will" a deception. Does God have a "secret list" of those foreordained to be saved? All the rest are deceived by being told if they repent and believe they may be saved, which is impossible unless they are already on the "secret list". TULIP is a result of the forced rationalism of medieval speculative philosophy superimposed on Scripture. It takes a greater more powerful Creator-God to fulfill His eternal purposes and will in and through those (billions) of individuals to whom He has given the mystery of a genuine freedom to respond with a yes or no. John 5:40, Matthew 23:37

Sat, 04/13/2019 - 18:17 -- john_hendryx

Peace For God’s People

by Richard Sibbes

THERE be two sorts of people always in the visible church, one that Satan keeps under with false peace, whose life is nothing but a diversion to present contentments, and a running away from God and their own hearts, which they know can speak no good unto them; these speak peace to themselves, but God speaks none. Such have nothing to do with this Scripture, Ps. 42:11; the way for these men to enjoy comfort, is to be soundly troubled. True peace arises from knowing the worst first, and then our freedom from it. It is a miserable peace that riseth from ignorance of evil. The angel ‘troubled the waters,’ John 5:4, and then it* cured those that stepped in. It is Christ’s manner to trouble our souls first, and then to come with healing in his wings.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 13:53 -- john_hendryx

Why The Lord Allows Sin to Remain in the Regenerate

by Thomas Boston

WE have seen already, that though there is a great change wrought on the elect in their regeneration yet that change is imperfect; there shall be no perfect delivery from indwelling sin till death; the body of death; though crucified, yet lives till the death of the body: and it is not so driven out to the outworks, but that it remains, and hath its seat in the main hold, in the soul, even in the mind and will. Experience suffereth not gracious souls to doubt of the being of sin in them, while it occasions them so much struggling and wrestling; yea, while they feel the great strength of it, they are many times ready from thence to call in question the being of grace in them, and to put forth that which was Rebekah's question, in another case, "If it be so, why am I thus?"* And therefore, although we are not to call God to an account of his doings with supercilious boldness, flowing from an obstinate and stubborn heart; yet it may very well be allowed, that we go humbly, and with her inquire of the Lord.

Mon, 04/08/2019 - 12:54 -- john_hendryx

The Magic Equality Wand

by Dr. Thaddeus Williams

Imagine we could wave a Magic Equality Wand that instantly erased inequality around the world. This wand is so magical that it can bring perfect global equality without having to resort to some ever-bloating government regime to oversee and implement equal outcomes. The wand is so powerful it can even wipe away all discrimination from the planet.

We all wake up tomorrow in a discrimination free world with, say, a million dollars in our bank accounts, 4000 square foot homes with Teslas in our driveways, all the best quality name brands in our closets, and an equally wide-open horizon of options and opportunities. No oppressive ‘isms’ or broken systems stand in anyone’s way. For how long could we enjoy a vacation from having to protest inequality?

It would be more like a bathroom break than a vacation.

Since people have different priorities and make different life choices, inequalities would manifest within 5 minutes and grow larger by the day. Donna expands her real estate business. Ben sinks his million into building Ice Town. Ron buys gold and buries it in the woods. Tommy throws a lavish red carpet party, complete with six open bars, a Bengal Tiger, and a shrimp wall. Chris invests in a vegan market chain. Andy blows his on Skittles and Dave Matthews tickets, while Jean-Ralphio is livin’ large with a high end scarf collection and a RoLexus. Gryzzl employees pool their funds for more “chill” tech innovations, while the Animal Control Department relocates to Jamaica and buys a truckload of pot. Nearby Eagletonians pour their funds for caviar, a city-wide HBO subscription, and fill their gated community pools with name brand mineral water.

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 16:26 -- john_hendryx

The Appeal of Idolatry

by David Wells

"Idolatry, ancient and modern alike, consists in trusting some substitute for God to serve some uniquely divine function…  Why do people choose the substitute over God himself?  Probably the most important reason is that it obviates accountability to God.  We can meet idols on our own terms because they are our own creations.  They are safe, predictable, and controllable; they are, in Jeremiah’s colorful language, the “scarecrows in a cucumber field” (10:5).  They are portable and completely under the user’s control.  They offer nothing like the threat of a God who thunders from Sinai and whose providence in this world so often appears to us to be incomprehensible and dangerous.  People who “remain in the center of their lives and loyalties, autonomous architects of their own futures,” Keyes argues, thereby avoid coming face to face with God and his truth.  They need face only themselves.  That is the appeal of idolatry."

- David Wells, God in the Wasteland  (Eerdmans 1994)

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 13:55 -- john_hendryx

The Noble Lie

by Thaddeus Williams

In the era before the 17th century, before Galileo, Kepler and Newton, a fixation on meaning questions often left our understanding of the material world dragging woefully behind. In the era following the Scientific Revolution, we have come to understand the mechanics of the universe far greater than ever before. Yet it appears more meaningless to us than ever. We know more and more about matter but less and less about why matter matters....

Close-minded materialism has ushered us into a kind of teleological Dark Ages. We have become just as naïve about the meaning of the universe as the medieval alchemist was about the mechanics of the universe. But the meaning void left swirling at the center of a materialist’s cosmos will be filled with something. The human heart, like nature, abhors a vacuum.Dr. Loyal Rue offered the American Academy for the Advancement of Science three possibilities for filling the void:

1) Each individual can become the centerpoint of meaning for his own universe of personal fulfillment. Rue calls this “the madhouse option,” which abandons all hope for social cohesion.

2) The State can make itself the centerpoint of meaning in an otherwise meaningless cosmos. Rue calls this “the totalitarian option” where all individuality and freedom are lost.

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 13:15 -- john_hendryx

A List of Powerful Sermons and Essays for your Weekend Reading

For your weekend reading I wanted to pass along some classic sermons and essays that have had a deep impact:

Imitating the Incarnation (.pdf)
by B. B. Warfield

The Religious Life of Theological Students
by B B Warfield

Man's Utter Inability to Rescue Himself
by Thomas Boston

The Expulsive Power of a New Affection
by Thomas Chalmers

What Did the Cross Achieve?: The Logic of Penal Substitution
by J. I. Packer

A Day of Sober Rejoicing
by Francis Schaeffer

The Emotional Life of Our Lord
by B. B. Warfield

The Martyrdom of Polycarp
Translated by John Lightfoot

Introductory Essay to the Death of Death
by J. I. Packer

What is Christianity?
by J. Gresham Machen

History & Faith
by J Gresham Machen

The Good Fight of Faith
by J. Gresham Machen

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 13:34 -- john_hendryx

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