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Growing in Grace & Conscious of Sin

Due to a rising sense of sin, many genuine Christians, as they grow in grace, may occasionally have doubts arise as to the assurance of their conversion. We can feel that grace is declining when our awareness of inner corruption is growing. Our pride, our lusts and other corruptions swell up in our breasts and so we wonder if our conversion is real, or at least wonder where God is in all of this. Rather than being comforted, we feel extraordinary discomfort. We become worried and irritated and wonder how it is that we feel guiltier than ever.

If you are complaining to yourself in this way, let me ask you this: Were these corruptions in you before you began to sense their reality? If you are human you answered in the affirmative. You may have noticed them before but not been humbled by them, but now your soul is vexed and brought low by them. This might seem strange but actually you are finally judging yourself aright. This is not a sign of grace decay and decline but, on the contrary, a sign that you are growing in grace. If you notice your sin more, it is because you have more light, because the Lord has made you more sensitive to it. This is actually a sign that God united you to Himself in Christ, and a sign of a thriving Christian. For if God is with you, you will be more discomforted than ever in the presence of your own sin. This means the Spirit is doing His work. The result is that we may think ourselves even more vile sinners than we previously thought.

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 13:42 -- john_hendryx

Five Big Myths About Calvinism

by John Samson

I speak for many when I say that I have not always embraced the doctrines of grace or what is commonly called Calvinism. Its actually unfortunate that a man’s name is associated with the doctrines that came out of the Protestant Reformation. Calvin was not the first to articulate these truths, but merely was the chief systematizer of such doctrines. There was actually nothing in Calvin that was not first seen in Luther, and much of Luther was first found in Augustine. Luther was an Augustinian monk, of course. We would also naturally affirm that there was nothing in any of these men that was not first found in Paul and Peter and John in the New Testament.

Tue, 10/04/2016 - 18:32 -- john_hendryx

Progressive Pogrom by Steve Hays

It's an interesting time to be an orthodox Christian. 
 
1. The Obama era has emboldened the religious left as well as the secular left. Their theology (if you can call it that) is synchronized with the Zeitgeist. It's striking to see their ferocious enmity for traditional Christian theology. That was epitomized by Elizabeth Barnes (who teaches feminist philosophy at the University of Virginia), when she said:
 
I hereby declare a party on my wall for progressive Christians sick of seeing their faith tradition co-opted by people who seem unable or unwilling to understand their own cruelty. 
 
That's unintentionally comical. Progressive Christianity is entirely parasitic on orthodox Christian theology. Progressive Christianity is defined in reaction to orthodox Christianity. Imagine a Muslim complain that he's sick of seeing Christians co-opt Islam. It isn't even possible for orthodox Christians to co-opt the faith tradition of progressive Christians. Rather, progressive Christians are laboring to co-opt Christian tradition, but sterilize it in the process. Orthodox Christian tradition is the frame of reference, not progressive Christianity.  
 
In point of fact, progressive Christianity cannot be true. If you think traditional Christian theology is bad pious fiction, then, at best, progressive Christianity can only be rewritten pious fiction. Redacting offensive fiction doesn't turn it into nonfiction, but just a different brand of fiction. Indeed, derivative fiction. A fiction of a fiction. Progressive Christianity is a secondary, reactionary movement with no intrinsic identity. 
 
The enmity of militant atheists towards Christianity at least has a semblance of logicality. Atheism doesn't pretend to be Christian.
Mon, 10/03/2016 - 20:08 -- john_hendryx

Sola Scriptura Examined and Defended

by Dr. James White

Dr. James White writes: Went 135 minutes today (hence the “uber-mega” designation) covering two primary topics: sola scriptura defined and defended against a recent attack upon it by Karlo Broussard of Catholic Answers (first 90 minutes), and then a “live” review of a new video against the deity of Christ from a Muslim perspective. A lot of foundational, basic teaching today that we think is very, very important for all believers!

Dr. James White: “We continued our series on sola scriptura today, looking at what sola scriptura is and is not. Touched on the issues raised by charismatic claims of “thus says the Lord” a bit as well. We really believe this is an important series, and hope our listeners will find it foundationally edifying.”

Fri, 09/30/2016 - 21:27 -- john_hendryx

Major Update to our 'Five Solas of the Reformation' Section


Image Adapted from Tim Challies' Visual Theology

We just completed a major update to the content in our Five Solas of the Reformation subsection There are 100s of free resources for download

Unwarranted confidence in human ability is a product of fallen human nature ... God's grace in Christ is not merely necessary but is the sole efficient cause of salvation. We confess that human beings are born spiritually dead and are incapable even of cooperating with regenerating grace. We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life. We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature. - Cambridge Declaration

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 16:34 -- john_hendryx

Doing Math with Dice and Atheism’s Destruction of Knowledge

Guest post by Jimmy Li

Apologetics Sermon Illustration

Point: Doctor Cornelius Van Til, the father of Presuppositional apologetics, is famous for asking the following question to those who would attack the Christian faith: “On what foundation rest the guns which he directs against the Christian position?”  Cornelius Van Til was insightful to note that the presuppositions one bring to the discussion about the truth of Christianity matters.  In fact presuppositions are very crucial.  Elsewhere Van Til said,

The issue between believers and non-believers in Christian theism cannot be settled by a direct appeal to “facts” or “laws” whose nature and significance is already agreed upon by both parties to the debate. The question is rather as to what is the final reference-point required to make the “facts” and “laws” intelligible. The question is as to what the “facts” and “laws” really are. Are they what the non-Christian methodology assumes that they are? Are they what the Christian theistic methodology presupposes they are?” (Source)

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 14:15 -- john_hendryx

10 Things to Remember When Reading the Bible

This post is adapted from Reading the Word of God in the Presence of God: A Handbook for Biblical Interpretation by Vern Poythress.

1. The Bible is God’s own word.

That means that what the Bible says, God says.

2. God governs the whole world through his divine speech, which specifies and controls what happens (Heb. 1:3).

The Bible indicates that God speaks to govern the world, but we do not hear this speech; we only see its effects (for example, Ps. 33:6, 9; 147:15–18). The Bible, by contrast, is the word of God, designed by God to speak specifically to us as human beings. All divine speech, whether directed toward governing the world in general or directed toward us as human beings, has divine character. In particular, it displays God’s lordship in authority, control, and presence.

3. God speaks his words to us in covenants (Gen. 9:9; 15:18; 17:7; Ex. 19:5; etc.).

A “covenant” is a solemn, legally binding agreement between two parties. In this case, the two parties are God and human beings. In the Old Testament, God’s covenants with human beings show some affinities with ancient Near Eastern suzerainty treaties. These treaties show five elements, which also appear either explicitly or by implication in God’s covenants in the Old Testament: identification of the suzerain (Ex. 20:2); historical prologue (Ex. 20:2); stipulations (Ex. 20:3-17); sanctions (i.e., blessings and curses) (Ex. 20:7; see also v. 12); recording and passing on (Ex. 31:18; Deut. 31).

Mon, 09/19/2016 - 20:25 -- john_hendryx

What Do You Understand by the Providence of God?

Heidelberg Catechism

27. Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?

A. God's providence is
his almighty and ever present power, 1
whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds
heaven and earth and all creatures, 2
and so governs them that
leaf and blade,
rain and drought,
fruitful and barren years,
food and drink,
health and sickness,
riches and poverty, 3
indeed, all things,
come to us not by chance 4
but by his fatherly hand. 5

 

 

28. Q. What does it benefit us to know that God has created all things and still upholds them by his providence?

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 12:44 -- john_hendryx

Is Jesus our Sanctification or does the Word of God Sanctify Us?

The answer is yes. Recently someone took issue with a quote I posted by Art Azurdia: "The word is the God appointed means by which you will be sanctified...." - Dr. Arturo Azurdia III

Visitor: Not very helpful in then long run. Jesus is my Sanctification, not my adherence to the Bible.

Response: Jesus cannot be bifurcated from His word. The Jesus of the Bible is our sanctification, not the Jesus of our imaginations. You cannot know God or Jesus apart from His revelation. We don't come to know Jesus in a void or through some mystical personal channel of revelation. Even Jesus himself testifies of the Scriptures own importance in the sanctification of the believer.

"Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. " (John 17:17)

And at the same time the Bible also declares that Jesus is our sanctification:

"...because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and SANCTIFICATION and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:29-31)

This is why we lay so heavy an importance of the means of grace (such as preaching). The Jesus we worship cannot be cut off from His word.

Also I want to point to some other words Jesus spoke which stress the true authority of the word. After the resurrection when speaking to the two disciples on the road (their eyes hidden from knowing who he was), notice that Jesus does not say "tada, look here I am". No He first points them to their astonishingly slow belief in the SCRIPTURE'S testimony about him.

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:52 -- john_hendryx

Using Public Funds to Establish Atheist Beliefs

by Lenny Esposito

What counts as state-sponsored indoctrination? That's a question that has increasingly come under examination, especially with regard to the establishment of religion. In the United States, the First Amendment to the Constitution declares that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise." The amendment limits the power of the Federal government from creating or giving favor to a specific religious entity or belief system.

Atheist advocacy groups have taken the first portion of that statement, known as the establishment clause, and interpreted it very broadly. Organizations such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Americans for the Separation of Church and State continue to file lawsuits against cities or public agencies for displaying crosses on hilltops or Nativity scenes at Christmas. They complain that these displays amount to an endorsement of one kind of viewpoint, and since their content is religious it violates the establishment clause.

Such charges have followed into even the public school system, where attempts to teach the problems with neo-Darwinian evolutionary models have been shut down. Neo-Darwinism has at its core unguided and purposeless changes in the genome, which are then established and propagated through natural selection. If one were to challenge this viewpoint, one must presuppose some kind of non-purposeless process; we call such causes intelligent and the challenging idea is labeled intelligent design.

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 17:13 -- john_hendryx

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