Friday, August 31, 2012

Five Pillars of the Reformation - by Michael Horton

In May, 1989, a conference jointly sponsored by the National Association of Evangelicals and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School was held at the Trinity campus in Illinois. Dubbed a consultation on Evangelical Affirmations, the meeting revealed more than it settled. In the published addresses (Zondervan, 1990), Carl F. H. Henry, the dean of American evangelicalism, sets the tone for book with his opening line: "The term 'evangelical' has taken on conflicting nuances in the twentieth century. Wittingly or unwittingly, evangelical constituencies no less than their critics have contributed to this confusion and misunderstanding." He warned that "evangelical" was being understood, not according to Scriptural teaching and "the theological 'ought,'" but according to the sociological and empirical "is." In other words, Henry was disturbed that evangelicalism is increasingly being defined by its most recent trends rather than by its normative theological identity. Author after author (presumably, speaker after speaker) echoed the same fears that before long "evangelical" will be useless as any meaningful identification.

The term itself derives from the Greek word euangelion, translated "Gospel," and it became a noun when the Protestant reformers began their work of bringing the "one holy, catholic and apostolic church" back to that message by which and for which it was created. People still used other labels, too, like "Lutheran," "Reformed," and later, "Puritans," "Pietists," and "Wesleyans." Nevertheless, the belief was that the same Gospel that had united the "evangelicals" against Rome's errors could also unite them against the creeping naturalism and secularism of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. The so-called "Evangelical Awakening" in Britain coincided with America's own "Great Awakening," as Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, Tennant, and so many others centered their preaching on the atonement. Later, of course, Wesley's zeal for Arminian emphases divided the work in Britain, but the Reformation emphases were clearly and unambiguously articulated in the Great Awakening.

Out of this heritage, those today who call themselves "evangelicals" (or who are in these churches, but might not know that they are in this tradition) are heirs also to the Second Great Awakening. Radically altering the "evangel" from a concern with the object of faith, the Second Great Awakening and the revivalism that emerged from it focused on the act and experience of faith, in dependence on the proper "excitements", as Finney and others expressed it, to trigger the right response.

Read rest of post HERE

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Is Your Church a Safe Place for Sinners?

From The reforming Baptist

I was watching a video of a local seeker sensitive church who started out the service with their band playing and a cool-dude worship leader welcoming everybody casually... Same ol' same ol' vanilla flavored contemporary church. Yada yada yada....But he said something that caught my attention:

"We want to welcome you to ____________ Church where we are a safe place for you if you're exploring what you believe or who Jesus is...."

I immediately asked myself: "What does he mean by safe place?"

Did he mean that their church is a place that is a safe place from persecution? If you're wanting to figure out how to be a Christian, did he mean that you need not worry about losing your head for it because this church is off the grid of those seeking to harass Christians?

No, that can't be it. (although it's probably more true than they realize)

Did he mean that their church was in a safe neighborhood where they can walk from the parking lot to the sanctuary without getting shot by a drive by shooting?

No, probably not even though the church is located in one of the nicer cities in the Bay Area.

Did he mean that their church is a safe place from those who would try to confuse them with false doctrine and that they would be safe from any kind of confusion and interference from their path way to learning about the truth?

No, I really doubt that too.

Did he mean that their church is a safe place where people can hide their sin and never worry about the dangers of Christ shining His annoying and glaring light of holiness on their disobedient lifestyles? Did he mean that their church is a safe place where you can blend in and nobody will really know who you are because you don't have to make any commitments? Did he mean that their church was a safe place from the shackles of accountability to one another?

Yes, I think that's more along the lines of what he meant. Why do I think so?

Rest rest of article HERE

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Charles Spurgeon on Free Will

I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrine of free will; I can only say that mine inclines as naturally towards the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace! Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His Grace what a great sinner I would have been! I would have run to the utmost lengths of sin, and dived into the very depths of evil! Nor would I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me; I feel that I would have been a very king of sinners if God had let me alone.

I cannot understand the reason why I am saved except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine Grace. If I am at this moment with Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His Glory.

I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty Grace has saved me from going down into the pit of Hell!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Here is Love

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

Let me all Thy love accepting,
Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only
And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see.
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.

In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting,
As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and power on me,
Without measure, full and boundless,
Drawing out my heart to Thee.

William Rees