"God knoweth we have nothing of ourselves, therefore in the covenant of grace he requireth no more than he giveth, and giveth what he requireth, and accepteth what he giveth."
-Richard Sibbes: From The Bruised Reed
Some Monergism.com History
We live, I believe, in a very interesting era. Stepping back to observe the ebbs and flows of time, we cannot help but be amazed at God's sovereign, redemptive work throughout history. Often this work is barely noticeable, a mere undercurrent running quietly beneath the towering fortresses of earthly empires. In the same way that tiny raindrops fall to the ground eventually become streams that ultimately empty into vast oceans, so too great movements are often brought about unnoticed at first all the while being carried along by God's Providential, Unseen Hand. I believe such a movement is taking place today.
While, no doubt, the Internet certainly has the real potential to pass on disinformation and harmful ideas, it also is proving to be as revolutionary as Gutenberg's printing press in spreading the gospel. Certainly, its potential has yet to be realized, but this tool is nothing short of phenomenal providing new avenues of kergymatic proclamation and allowing us to make Him known in even the most remote regions of the earth.
The year was 2001. My wife and I had recently returned from living in Asia for over ten years, the last few, of which, were spent working for and witnessing the rise of the Asian Internet industry. Wildfire is, perhaps, the only way to describe it. Shortly after returning to Silicon Valley, and still working in the industry, we subsequently witnessed its freefall on NASDAQ. This brought things back into perspective quickly, driving us, in our need, to seek the Lord more earnestly than before. In this sense, the "bursting of the bubble" was a positive event because the Lord was using it for good, even though it felt quite painful at the time. Being broken, yet hungry for spiritual food, we could not find much to help on the Internet in the way of a consistent biblical, Christ-honoring Christianity, except for a few scattered but exceptional locations. My wife and I (and a few friends) began to explore more deeply the importance of God's sovereignty in salvation, the bondage of the natural will, monergistic-regeneration and like topics. The Lord appeared to be gracefully prodding me to utilize my limited Web design talents, previous acquired overseas, to bring together quality, Christ-honoring resources that would emphasize these and other doctrines that historically have often fallen by the wayside.
At first, Monergism.com was simply a hobby, something I simply did out of a desire to grow in grace and help others do likewise. Each day I would gather and mine the Internet for essays, and other resources that were helpful to me and that I hoped would be beneficial to others as well. Through my studies and personal reflections, I recognized that we all seem to harbor way too much faith and confidence in our own personal judgments. This confidence blocks from our view what God is plainly saying to us in His Word. We are often too proud and moralistic, reading God's Text through our own cultural lens. Often we trust too much of our own common sense logic, democratic values and corporate methodologies, rather than what the Scripture points to - the cross of Jesus Christ. We find it hard to believe that the answer to life if bound up in the painful death of a sinless man - we do not want to believe this, so we suppress it and look for other solutions, sometimes even as Christians. But God redeems and sanctifies us that His glory would radiate through us and deliver us from all of our impious self-seeking. Only through communion with Christ can this be realized, for outside of Him even the most devout person is living unto themselves.
What many persons do not know is that John Calvin and many his contemporaries (the Reformers) placed more stress in their writings on our union with Christ than anything else. Union with Christ was, in their estimation, the starting and ending points of Christian faith and practice. Calvin wisely said, "That joining together of Head and members, that indwelling of Christ in our hearts - in short, that mystical union - are accorded by us the highest degree of importance, so that Christ, having been made ours, makes us sharers with him in the gifts with which he has been endowed" (Calvin Inst 3.11.9). All of our Christian life is the Spirit of Christ working in us what has already been accomplished in Christ.
For this reason, Monergism.com and its content, while familiar to many, may prove to be unfamiliar or even foreign to some, but you will see by the wide variety of authors we have chosen that they are the views of those who have upheld the historic Christian faith, those long held by faithful Christians through the ages. May I challenge you, therefore, if you are visiting this site for the first time or have not spent much time here, please, cast aside whatever preconceived ideas and judgments you might have and simply listen afresh to God's Word. Jesus Christ is the subject of all theology and apart from Him, God is unknowable. Theology that is unable to start with Christ is speculative and we all quite naturally tend to speculate too much. To the degree that we imagine God, to that same degree we worship a god of our imagination.
It has been five years now since Monergism.com was first launched and the traffic has increased to such an extent that it is now our full time ministry. For this we praise the Lord. The old Website had mined and gathered 1000s of links and resources but the content had grown unmanageable. Being only a front-end designer myself, I decided to approach Tim Challies with a proposal to build a content-managed database with search and a cleaner hierarchy. He gladly took up the challenge and after we received some of your generous donations he helped me to build what you see here today, though it took quite a bit longer than anticipated.
After months of grueling preparation, numerous technical set-backs and a host of other behind-the-scenes debacles and delays (mostly due the enormous amount of data that had to be moved), we are thrilled to finally unveil the new Monergism 2.0. It would be impossible for us to adequately express our excitement, anticipation and gratitude at launching what we hope will be a major evolution in functionality, ease of use, organization and overall look for the site. We hope that once you have experienced it, you will feel the same. To get a quick break-down of the site's new layout, check-out the site tour page.
We realize that, as with all upgrades, especially one as drastic as this, there will undoubtedly be a learning curve that more a few of our regular visitors will have to overcome. If you are used to the old site and don't know what to do at first, or if you're looking for a specific link or page, try using the search box in the upper right hand corner of each page. The search functionality is smooth as silk. For example, if you type Tim Keller MP3 all the MP3s by Keller will instantly appear. We expect that, as you get used to using the new site, you will come to love it and will enjoy exploring the depths of the Directory hierarchy, which has made drastic improvements over the old one.
While most of the website has been renovated, revamped and updated, there are many areas that continue to need improvement. As before, we will daily update and edit the content, adding and subtracting content as needed. In this regard, the Reformation call to Semper Reformanda (to always be reforming) is as appropriate as always. Rest assured that while the design and backend database have changed, the content and focus of the site has no changed. We will continue to provide the same Christ-exalting and life-enriching resources, only (we pray) better since now it will be easier for visitors to find what exactly what they're looking for in our newly organized, hierarchical directory and search function available on every page. We ask that you would pray on our behalf for wisdom, that the Spirit would ever guide us to be faithful to the Scripture and honoring to Jesus Christ as we mine the Internet for choice content.
I asked Tim Challies to say a few words about the functionality of the new site and he said, "I was excited when John approached me about redesigning Monergism.com. Monergism is an excellent resource and one I've turned to often. But like many sites, the design had begun to grow stale and, of greater importance, the huge amount of information at the site was making management an increasingly-difficult issue ...The site has many new features that you will want to discover. Here are a few of the ones that I am most excited about: A new, contemporary design, subscription services including RSS and email subscriptions, better integration between Monergism and Monergism Books, and at the very heart of the site is a new, dynamic directory of theology. It allows information to be categorized, sorted and maintained in ways that far exceed the old site. With almost 20,000 links to essays, sermons, books and audio files all across the web, this is one of the best Internet-based research resources available to Christians ... Monergism has always been a great site and it just keeps getting better."
One function that we are excited about which Tim did not mention is our ability to allow Moderators access to individual categories on a case by case basis. In other words, the new site, which requires no HTML knowledge, can be built by a variety of people (or moderators) who wish to take ownership of a specific topic. In the past, the website was predominately the work of just a few persons; but now portions of it can now be farmed out to trusted friends in Christ. This has the potential create an online community of people who will bring a great deal of wisdom and skill to the project. If you're personally interested in helping on a specific topic, please contact us through the website. We would love to get to know you.
We especially wish to thank everyone who participated in this process through their generous giving of time and financial resources. First of all, in particular, we also want to acknowledge and thank Tim Challies for the many, no doubt, gruelling hours he has spent designing and building the backend of the site. The website you see today is the result of his well-spent efforts.
We would also like to thank the Rev. Charles Garland, Rev. John Jones, Rev. Eric Costa, the elders and many friends at Intown Presbyterian Church whose guidance and encouragement has continued to be beneficial to our ministry. We would also like to extend a special thank you to Aaron Orendorff & John Poletto for their contributions building the content of the new site, fixing broken links and building the directory. They have been extremely helpful - beyond measure. Also extremely helpful as advisors has been Nathan Pitchford, Matt Reed, B.K. Campbell, & Josh Dupuis. A special thanks must be extended to Pastor David Thommen for his friendship and continued encouragement, Steve Hesselman for his many hours of hard work on illustrations; also for the fellowship and support of of Pastor John Samson - all of these men of God have helped on more ways than they know. Thanks also to to Rev. Charles Biggs, Mac Soderquist, Robert Hubbard, Garrett Smith, Rick Query, Greg Allen for their moral and finincial support, prayers, encouragement and all around edification. And we wish to give thanksgiving to God for the many supporters who continue to give financially especially in times of need like these when we have tapped out most of our resources.
Lastly a big thank you is in order to my wife who has been of critical importance to Monergism.com. I am most thankful for her love, helpful admonitions and continued inspiration.
We pray the Lord bless this ministry so that Monergism.com will continue to grow and produce new features and be a source of blessing to the Christian community worldwise. Come back often for free reading and audio downloading ... and please help support our efforts by visiting our bookstore.
"We are God's: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God's: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God's: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our own lawful goal." - John Calvin Inst. 3.7.1