Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Responses to “Reformed and Evangelical” by Irons

Lee Irons elaborates and responds to critics of his first post:

"Sure, our differences on TULIP, the covenants, the sacraments, and so on, are important, but if you hold to the white-hot core of the gospel, then I embrace you as a brother in Christ and I want to be identified with whatever label will work to make sure that this embrace is clear. Of course, I will worship at my own Reformed church on Sunday and you will go to your dispensational Bible-church or Baptist church or what have you, but we can do so without either one adopting an attitude of superiority or exceptionalism since we recognize one another as brothers based on the common bond that we have in Christ. read the whole post here

Monday, July 28, 2008

"I consider myself to be a Christian first..."

Reformed and Evangelical
by Lee Irons

It’s good to see that there are still some Reformed people these days who embrace the label “evangelical” (see the posts by Stephen Nichols and Sean Lucas on the Ref21 site). I don’t sympathize with the Reformed trend that utterly scorns and detests the label. I have no desire to set myself apart as a “Reformed Confessionalist” who has nothing in common with evangelicalism. This separatist attitude is wrong for several reasons:

(1) It smacks of spiritual pride and elitism. I consider myself to be a Christian first, then a Protestant, then an evangelical, and only then Reformed. To exalt ”Reformed” über alles is to downplay our central identity as Christians. To exalt the Reformed confessions is to downplay the primary New Testament confession that “Jesus is Lord.” I’m not a Reformed person who happens to be a Christian. I’m a blood-bought Christian who happens to believe in the Reformed understanding of the gospel. And I do not view myself as a superior Christian for having this belief. It is only by the grace of God that I understand what I do of the grace of God, and even then I betray it all too often in my practice.
read the whole thing

Friday, July 25, 2008

the way God gives faith

"In this way, therefore, faith is a gift of God, not in the sense that it is offered by God for man to choose, but that it is in actual fact bestowed on man, breathed and infused into him. Nor is it a gift in the sense that God bestows only the potential to believe, but then awaits assent — the act of believing — from man’s choice; rather, it is a gift in the sense that he who works both willing and acting and, indeed, works all things in all people produces in man both the will to believe and the belief itself."

- Canons of Dordt, article 14

Not only does this quote from the Canons distinguish historic Calvinism from Arminianism, but biblical Christianity from all other religions, i.e Rome, Mormonism, the Jehova's Witnesses, etc...

the love and life of Christ

"The love of Christ for us is to be held forth as the great constraining motive to religion, and the life of Christ as the bright, engaging pattern of it."

- Thomas Foxcroft, The Gospel Ministry

Thursday, July 24, 2008

muppet gangstaaaaaz

And if you think these guys aren’t the Original Original Gangstaz, then you never saw what happened to people who dissed Wilkins Coffee.

I spied these on The RiffTrax Blog by Bill Corbett and had to post them myself.

the only people who get better

“The only people who get better are people who know that, if they never get better, God will love them anyway.”

—Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom (West Monroe, LA: Howard Books, 2004), 68-69

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

all they need is their need

Commenting on Romans 4:5 John H. Gerstner writes:

"If men will only be convinced that they have no righteousness that is not like filthy rags; if men will see that there is no one who does good, not even one; if men will see that they are all shut up under sin--then there will be nothing to prevent their everlasting salvation. All they need is their need. All they must have is nothing. All that is required is acknowledgment of guilt. Just confess your sins and repent of them.

But, alas, sinners cannot part with their so-called "virtues." They have none that are not imaginary, but they are very real to them. So grace becomes unreal. The real grace of God they spurn in order to hold on to their own illusory virtues. Their eyes are fixed on a mirage, so they will not drink real water. They die of thirst with water all around them."

Romans 4:5 "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

Monday, July 21, 2008

sinclair ferguson on indicatives

I ran across this great quote over at Miscellanies : “The great gospel imperatives to holiness are ever rooted in indicatives of grace that are able to sustain the weight of those imperatives. The Apostles do not make the mistake that’s often made in Christian ministry. [For the Apostles] the indicatives are more powerful than the imperatives in gospel preaching. So often in our preaching our indicatives are not strong enough, great enough, holy enough, or gracious enough to sustain the power of the imperatives. And so our teaching on holiness becomes a whip or a rod to beat our people’s backs because we’ve looked at the New Testament and that’s all we ourselves have seen. We’ve seen our own failure and we’ve seen the imperatives to holiness and we’ve lost sight of the great indicatives of the gospel that sustain those imperatives. … Woven into the warp and woof of the New Testament’s exposition of what it means for us to be holy is the great groundwork that the self-existent, thrice holy, triune God has — in Himself, by Himself and for Himself — committed Himself and all three Persons of His being to bringing about the holiness of His own people. This is the Father’s purpose, the Son’s purchase and the Spirit’s ministry.”

- Sinclair Ferguson, message from the 2007 Banner of Truth Conference, Our Holiness: The Father’s Purpose and the Son’s Purchase.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

what brings you comfort?

... is it good health? Knowing your medical insurance is taken care of? Your 401K is growing? Your car is working? Your family is healthy?

These things bring me comfort. But the ultimate comfort (even when the above don't go as planned) is knowing I am a son of God:

Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

So, I have supreme comfort knowing:

- I don't have to worry about controlling my destiny,
- I'm a citizen of Jesus' Kingdom,
- My sins are paid for,
- The Devil can't hurt me,
- The law can't condemn me,
- I'm in the will of God,
- He saved me, and that's supreme,
- I have assurance by His Spirit that I'll live forever with Him,
- He has turned my heart of stone to a willing and thankful heart for Him!

Now THAT'S comfort my friend.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

3 great points on saving faith

by Sinclair Ferguson

1. Saving faith boasts of nothing in itself, but everything in Christ.

2. Saving faith never rests on sacraments to make a difference, yet ever feeds on them for spiritual blessing.

3. Saving faith excludes our obedience from justification, but marvelously fulfills it in sanctification.