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We Found Myanmar Gold

by Pastor Mark Robinette

Have you ever heard of Myanmar? Maybe by now you have, but a few years ago most of us had to Google it to find out. It was the new name for Burma. We’ve all seen Crab Rangoon on a menu somewhere, but few Westerners had ever been to this central city in Myanmar now called Yangon.

The truth is, in an adaptation of a famous C. S. Lewis quote, “The Lion is on the move” in Myanmar.

Just a few years ago, this Southeast Asian country, between India and Thailand, was shut off from the world much like North Korea, and it topped the list of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian.

As God would have it, Myanmar has remarkably opened up to outsiders. For the first time in decades, Christians are discovering part of the body of Christ that God has pruned and preserved amid great poverty and persecution. I know, I’ve been there many times since my first journey there in 2013. What I found is nothing short of a treasure-find for the faithful. I’ve discovered Myanmar Gold.

Blood is now flowing freely again in this part of the body of Christ between Myanmar Christians and the elect around the world.

As God has often taught us, and He is teaching us again through this, it is in the harshest of environments that love grows best.

In the jungles of Myanmar where cobras, elephants, and Bengal tigers still roam free, there is a vibrant network of Reformed Christians whose faith and solid theological perspectives are glorious and inspiring.

Sat, 04/18/2020 - 12:54 -- john_hendryx

Dear PCA, Don’t Let Revoice Fool You: A Response to Revoice’s Frequently Asked Questions, Part 2

 

 

Part 2 – Dear PCA, Don’t Let Revoice Fool You: A Response to Revoice’s Frequently Asked Questions

By Dr. Jared Moore

Introduction

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is Part 2 ( Part 1 is here ) of a multi-part series responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice . I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed . I hope this series of articles helps readers understand Revoice theology and provides a way forward for the PCA and Revoice. Please share these articles with your elders, deacons, teachers, and churches.

Fri, 04/17/2020 - 12:53 -- john_hendryx

What is Justifying Faith?

by Thomas Watson

What is justifying faith? I shall show, 

(1.) What it is not. It is not a bare acknowledgment that Christ is a Savior. There must be this acknowledgment, but that is not sufficient to justify. The devils acknowledged Christ's Godhead. "Jesus the Son of God." There may be an assent to divine truth, and yet no work of grace on the heart. Many assent in their judgements, that sin is an evil thing—but they go on in sin, whose corruptions are stronger than their convictions. Many assent that Christ is excellent; they cheapen the pearl—but do not buy.

(2.) What justifying faith is. True justifying faith consists in three things:

(1:) Self-renunciation. Faith is going out of one's self, being taken off from our own merits, and seeing we have no righteousness of our own. "Not having my own righteousness." Self-righteousness is a broken reed, which the soul dares not lean on. Repentance and faith are both humbling graces; by repentance a man abhors himself; by faith he goes out of himself. As Israel in their wilderness march, behind them saw Pharaoh and his chariots pursuing, before them the Red Sea ready to devour; so the sinner behind sees God's justice pursuing him for sin, before, hell ready to devour him; and in this forlorn condition, he sees nothing in himself to help—but he must perish unless he can find help in another.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 18:34 -- john_hendryx

Reformation Theology Reading Guide

In bringing you this list, it is our hope to bring honor to God by exalting Jesus Christ in providing the biblical and theological works (both contemporary and classic) that we believe best reflect the Scriptires' teaching on grace and the Christian life. Below I've put together this concise guide to Reformation Theology literature which hopefully will be beneficial to all who want to do some deeper investigation of where we are, where we’ve come from and where we are going. To get you started this succinct guide places emphasis on Reformed soteriology (e.g. the doctrine of salvation), the five solas and covenant theology. The following all deserve a permanent place on your bookshelf:

Our Top Recommendations:

(click on the links below if you want to learn more about a particular book)

Thu, 04/09/2020 - 16:24 -- john_hendryx

Self-Righteousness

by J. C. Ryle

"He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others." — Luke xviii. 9.

ARE there none to whom this parable is applicable in the present day? Truly, if it were so, the ministers of Jesus would have comparatively a light employment and an idle post. We do not often meet with men who deny the divinity of Christ, or the personality of the Holy Ghost, or disbelieve the Bible, or doubt the existence of a God, and so bring upon themselves swift destruction; but, alas! we have daily proof that the disease spoken of in our text is as deep-seated and hard to cure as ever, and of all the mischievous delusions that keep men out of heaven, of all the soul-destroying snares that Satan employs to oppose Christ’s Gospel, there is none we find so dangerous, none so successful, as self-righteousness.

Perhaps you think this strange, and I daresay there are few who would not say, if asked the ground of their hopes, and how they expect to be saved, "We trust in the merits of Christ"; but I fear that too many of you are making the Lord Jesus but half your Saviour, and could never stand the sifting of an inquiry which would draw out into daylight the secrets of your hearts. How much would then come out by degrees about doing as well as you could, and being no worse than others, and having been sober and industrious and well-behaved, and having attended church regularly, and having had a Bible and a Prayer book of your own ever since you can remember, and the like; besides many other self-approving thoughts, which often never appear until a death-bed, and all prove the root of all evil, which is pride, to be still vigorous and flourishing within.

Wed, 04/08/2020 - 19:02 -- john_hendryx

Dear PCA, Don’t Let Revoice Fool You: A Response to Revoice’s Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1

 

By Dr. Jared Moore

Introduction

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is the beginning of a multi-part series responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice . I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed . I hope this series of articles helps readers understand Revoice theology and provides a way forward for the PCA and Revoice. Please share these articles with your elders, deacons, teachers, and churches.

Revoice’s mission is “to support and encourage gay, lesbian, bisexual, and other same-sex attracted Christians—as well as those who love them—so that all in the Church might be empowered to live in gospel unity while observing the historic Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.” [1] The latter part of this statement about gospel unity, like their FAQ, sounds like something faithful Christians can affirm; however, if we look closer at the language they use and compare it with the writings of their leaders, we will see that their theology is neither biblical nor Reformed.

Revoice’s Frequently Asked Questions

In their Frequently Asked Questions, Revoice writes,

Does Revoice Promote a Gay Identity?

No.

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 15:10 -- john_hendryx

The Means of our Effectual Call

by Thomas Watson

The ordinary means which the Lord uses in calling us, is not by raptures and revelations—but is,

(1.) By His Word which is "the rod of his strength" (Psalm 105:2). The voice of the Word is God's call to us; therefore He is said to speak to us from heaven (Heb. 12:25). That is, in the ministry of the Word. When the Word calls from sin, it is as if we heard a voice from heaven.

(2.) By His Spirit. This is the loud call. The Word is the instrumental cause of our conversion, the Spirit is the efficient cause of our conversion. The ministers of God are only the pipes and organs; it is the Spirit blowing in them, which effectually changes the heart. "While Peter spoke, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word" (Acts 10:44). It is not the farmer's industry in ploughing and sowing, which will make the ground fruitful, without the early and latter rain. Just so, it is not the seed of the Word that will effectually convert, unless the Spirit puts forth His sweet influence, and drops as rain upon the heart. Therefore the aid of God's Spirit is to be implored, that He would put forth His powerful voice, and awaken us out of the grave of unbelief. If a man knocks at a gate of brass, it will not open; but if he comes with a key in his hand, it will open. Just so, when God, who has the key of David in His hand (Rev. 3:7) comes, He opens the heart, though it be ever so fast locked against Him.

---

From All Things for Good by Thomas Watson

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 11:32 -- john_hendryx

10 Ways Affliction Works for Good

by Thomas Watson

(1). Affliction works for good, as it is our preacher and teacher—"Hear the rod" (Micah 6:9). Luther said that he could never rightly understand some of the Psalms—until he was in affliction. 

Affliction teaches what sin is. In the word preached, we hear what a dreadful thing sin is, that it is both defiling and damning—but we fear it no more than a painted lion; therefore God lets loose affliction—and then we feel sin bitter in the fruit of it. A sick bed often teaches more than a sermon. We can best see the ugly visage of sin in the looking-glass of affliction!

Affliction teaches us to know ourselves. In prosperity we are for the most part strangers to ourselves. God afflicts us—that we may better know ourselves. We see that corruption in our hearts, in the time of affliction, which we would not believe was there. Water in the glass looks clear—but set it on the fire, and the scum boils up. In prosperity, a man seems to be humble and thankful, the water looks clear; but set this man a little on the fire of affliction, and the scum boils up—much impatience and unbelief appear. "Oh," says a Christian, "I never thought I had such a bad heart, as now I see I have! I never thought my corruptions had been so strong, and my graces so weak."

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 16:10 -- john_hendryx

Adversity

by Terry Johnson

Background Reading:
Romans 8:26-39; Genesis 50:15-21

In 1858, a gifted young Presbyterian missionary named John G. Paton sailed with his wife and infant son to the New Hebrides in the South Pacific to begin missionary work among the islanders. Within a few months of arrival, both his infant son and his wife had died, leaving him to labor alone.

In August 1876, a gifted young theologian names Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield and his bride were honeymooning in Germany. While sightseeing in the Black Forest region, they were suddenly caught in a severe storm, and something that was never quite explained happened to his bride, rendering her an invalid for the rest of their lives together.

In the 1950s the Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah congregation called a young preacher to take the reigns of a very divided church. He came with his wife and their five children, the youngest only three years old. Within a year and a half, Anton Van Puffelen developed a brain tumor, and in just over two years after he started his work in Savannah the Rev. Van Puffelen was dead.

How do you explain these things? Perhaps just as baffling, how do you explain the responses of these individuals? John G. Patton stayed on the field and reaped a great harvest, later saying:

I built the grave round and round with coral blocks, and covered the top with beautiful white coral, broken small gravel; and that spot became my sacred and much frequented shrine, during all the following months and years when I labored on for the salvation of these savage Islanders amidst difficulties, dangers and deaths. Whensoever Tanna turns to the Lord, and is won for Christ, man in after-days will find the memory of that spot still green – where with ceaseless prayers and tears I claimed that the land for God in which I hand ‘buried my dead’ with faith and hope.

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 16:13 -- john_hendryx

Don't Confuse Justification with Regeneration or Sanctification

by John Murray, Ralph Erskine, William Perkins, James Ussher, James Buchanan

“The epistle to the Romans is concerned with this very subject, the justification of sinners. That is the grand theme of the first five chapters in particular. Romans 8:33,34 conclusively shows that the meaning is that which is contrasted with the word ‘condemn’ and that which is related to the rebuttal of a judicial charge. The meaning of the word ‘justify’ therefore, in the epistle to the Romans, and therefore in the epistle which more than any other book in Scripture unfolds the doctrine, is to declare to be righteous. Its meaning is entirely removed from the thought of making upright or holy or good or righteous.

This is what is meant when we insist that justification is forensic. It has to do with a judgment given, declared, pronounced; it is judicial or juridical or forensic. The main point of such terms is to distinguish between the kind of action which justification involves and the kind of action in regeneration. Regeneration is an act of God in us; justification is an act of God with respect to us. The distinction is like that of the distinction between the act of a surgeon and the act of a judge. The surgeon, when he removes an inward cancer, does something in us. That is not what a judge does—he gives a verdict regarding our judicial status. If we are innocent he declares accordingly.

The purity of the gospel is bound up with the recognition of this distinction. If justification is confused with regeneration or sanctification, then the door is opened for the perversion of the gospel at its center. Justification is still the article of the standing or falling church. (121)

Wed, 03/18/2020 - 12:00 -- john_hendryx

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